Gender Equality in Horticulture

Sustainability is more than just environmental conservation.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the SDGs, are the blueprint for a sustainable future for the natural and built world and the societies within. Gender Equality is Goal 5 of 17.

2019 Horticulture Scholar Ellen Goodwin shares with us some thoughts on Gender Equality in her industry.

Right now, 67.1% of those employed in the industry are men, who are on average paid 22% more than women in the industry (WGEA, 2020)

Even with those stats, strides are being made every day by amazing women horticulturists like Ellen, supportive workplaces like Annandale Garden Centre, and organisations like Encouraging Women in Horticulture and Women & Leadership Australia.

“Horticulture is a male dominated industry, but recently I’ve noticed greater incentives and efforts to encourage gender equality in the industry. Scholarships funded by Women & Leadership Australia make it easier for us to study horticulture and enter the workforce. Additionally, they encourage the development of peer support networks which is crucial in a male dominated industry”, Says Ellen.

“The disproportionate gender split in the industry can make it difficult to be heard in the workplace. Here at Annandale Garden Centre the owners make a real effort to promote gender equality and I know that my voice is heard and valued.

I feel that gender equality in the workplace starts with affirmative leadership.

Practically, this means businesses that take steps in building a healthy workplace culture and actively promote gender equality.

This not only improves the organisation’s reputation, but also impacts the bottom line performance and facilitates the realisation of women’s potential within Australia.

Many companies are yet to include gender equality within their priorities. Having conversations about gender inequality brings this important movement to the forefront of leaders minds, which in turn contributes to this becoming a priority for our industry.

These are some of the ways I’ve gone about mentoring to drive empowerment of women in the field of horticulture.

  • Conversations during activities like gardening together or sharing a home cooked meal with home grown produce.
  • Mentoring other female apprentices or workers by offering guidance about how to enter the industry, and the types of things they could be considering to further their career.
  • Not feeding into gender roles, and instead embracing the human experience holistically.

Ellen’s BBM Scholarship is generously sponsored by NGINA. She is awaiting international travel bans to lift to start her BBM scholarship journey.


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