The National Rural Women’s Summit was hosted by the National Rural Women’s Coalition on Wednesday 20th February 2013 at the National Convention Centre, Canberra. Fifty-two women from rural, remote and regional areas, including Aboriginal women, those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, young women and women with disabilities came together to discuss current issues relevant to them which require attention at a national level. The fifty-two women came from all states and territories and there was an even distribution of age ranges. These women collectively were involved with over 83 community groups which work in the rural sector.
In 2008, a similar Rural Women’s Summit was held in Canberra and the women who attended this event made a call for action to ensure that they occupied a position of social inclusion and equity. They requested new ways of working which would include a national whole of government approach which would take courage, commitment and communication from all.
The 2013 summit was branded as “Strengthening the Voice of Rural, Remote and Regional Women” and delegates were encouraged to come with an attitude of curiosity about ‘what could be’ for rural Australia and how we might get there. Women were selected to attend the summit as a result of their involvement with a state or national rural women’s organization which was invited to nominate delegates to attend the summit.
The summit was highly interactive and proactive ideas were eagerly put forward in small and whole group discussion. Women were able to discuss issues that were important to them and from these valuable cross section of conversations, a range of different perspectives as to how the voice of rural, remote and regional women could be strengthened was gathered. Numerous actions that would lead to growing vibrant communities were suggested and the conclusions from these conversations have been summarized and documented in a report titled One size does not fit all.
This report has been designed to inform governments, policy makers and community members of the ‘state of play’ for Australian rural women in 2013 and highlights the issues that are of most concern to their families, businesses, communities, industries, organizations and the wider rural sector.
The report will inform the advocacy and campaign work undertaken by the National Rural Women’s Coalition and other rural groups in 2013 and beyond.