Too bad to stay or too good to leave? Two generations of women with a farming background: what is their attitude regarding the sustainability of the Australian family farm?

Ingrid Muenstermann

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)

Abstract

Globalisation has prompted many demographic changes, leaving some rural communities impoverished and others flourishing. One of the negative facts is that between 1971 and 2006, Australian family farms have declined by 46 %. Reasons for this decline are increased competition due to globalisation, the year long drought and increased debts. Family farming makes up 99 % of the farming industry and Australia relies economically on its output, therefore, it is important to consider the role women in farming. This qualitative research project looks at the attitudes of two generations of women, at their motives for staying or for leaving the land, at professional aspirations, and the prospects regarding the family farm. The study shows that the young generation does not believe that family farming offers a secure livelihood or future, and they are encouraged by their mothers to leave the farming industry, to acquire a profession, and to seek professional fulfilment outside of farming. Theoretically this is linked to the process of individualisation, which not only may be influenced by the mothers but also by influx of so-called lifestyle migrants. The discussion includes the view of women who moved from the city to the country. What was their influence on their rural cousins?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDemographic change in Australia's rural landscapes
Subtitle of host publicationImplications for society and the environment
EditorsGary W Luck, Digby Race, Rosemary Black
Place of PublicationGermany
PublisherSpringer
Chapter12
Pages281-305
Number of pages25
Volume12
ISBN (Electronic)9789048196548
ISBN (Print)9789048196524
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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