Women's representation in an Australian rural context

Margaret Alston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Australian rural women are largely invisible in public areas of influence. This paper presents findings of research into Australian rural women 's public profile in powerful agricultural organisations. Using a survey of Chairs of influential Boards and follow up interviews, as well as a survey of women in influential positions it shows that the Australian agricultural agenda is largely framed around a masculinist position and that women remain shadowy presences of outraged silence. Few men in powerful positions express disquiet about the current situation, with most arguing that appointments are based on merit. This paper exposes the fallacy of such a position noting that merit-based appointment is impossible under current selection processes. Disturbingly women who have gained access to positions of influence report overt and covert harassment from male colleagues. The paper concludes that changes to organisational culture are essential if women are to gain access to positions of influence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)474-487
Number of pages14
JournalSociologia Ruralis
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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