Fran is a long time supporter of the Rural Women’s Network and is a strong advocate for rural women’s issues. She has been supporting rural communities in tough times for most of her working life and we are delighted to see her recognised for all her hard work and dedication.
A Rural Financial Counsellor from Tottenham, Fran was one of 650 rural women who attended the Parkes Rural Women’s Conference back in 1991. It was in response to the important issues raised at this Conference that NSW Agriculture established the Rural Women’s Network program within the Department to recognise the needs and contribution of rural women to agriculture, their families and their communities. Fran co-chaired the RWN State Advisory Committee in 1994-1996 and has been actively involved with our network ever since.
Read on to hear about Fran’s selection as the NSW Woman of the Year…
NSW women of the year
By: Nathan Klein, The Daily Telegraph, May 30, 2012 10:12AM
THEY come from all walks of life and from all over the state, but these three women have one thing in common – their love of helping people in their own communities.
For Fran Rowe, Yvonne Keane and Edith Weisburg, making a contribution to their community is something they are deeply passionate about.
All three were recognised for their achievements this morning by Premier Barry O’Farrell and Minister for Women Pru Goward at the 2012 NSW Women of the Year Awards.
The winners were selected by a judging panel of six – including the Daily Telegraph’s Editor-at-large Jeni O’Dowd and Online Editor Cath Webber.
Mr O’Farrell said all of the winners were “exceptional women doing incredible work”.
“Not only have they outstanding achievements in their chosen field, they have also made extraordinary contributions to the lives of many others in the community,” he said.
Ms Rowe, of Tottenham, in central NSW, was awarded Woman of the Year for supporting and empowering Australia’s agricultural sector during tough times and environmental disasters.
In 1984 she established a voluntary rural financial counselling service for farming families facing financial, which contributed to the model for the current national Rural Financial Counselling Service.
“It was obviously thought that women didn’t contribute to farming, but at least this award drew attention to this anomaly and today we have awards that recognise the outstanding contribution that women too make to agriculture,’ she said.
Mr O’Farrell said: “Fran has devoted decades to helping rural families across the nation who are doing it tough. Her voice has influenced agricultural policy, legislation and assistance measures for farmers in times of financial hardship, environmental disaster and drought.”
Kellyville’s Ms Keane won the People’s Choice Community Hero Award for her voluntary work with Hear The Children and Dr Weisburg won the Lifetime Achievement Award for revolutionising reproductive and sexual health for Australian women.
Ms Goward said the three women are fantastic role models and all “highly deserving” of the awards.
“It was an inspiration to read all of the stories and find out about the great work that so many admirable women are doing in regional and metropolitan communities across NSW.”
PEOPLE’S CHOICE: Read their amazing stories