Women taking over the Outback

Women taking over the Outback

Mon July 16, 2012 11:09am

THE lure of the Outback and the great outdoors attracts more women to work on pastoral properties, as more men head for the mines and other careers.

About half the 120 station hands employed by cattle company S. Kidman and Co. on its stations are women.

Kidman spokeswoman Jane McCauley said the number of female applicants for stock work had jumped in the past four years.

"A lot of our applicants will have grown up on a family property and enjoy working with horses or outdoors and they may have been to agricultural college or received tertiary education," she said.

"This year we have got almost a 50-50 split in our stock camps and they are out there now busily mustering."

Of those enrolled in Australia's only Western jillaroo and jackaroo course - at a TAFE in Dubbo, NSW - three-quarters are women. When it started in 1998, only a quarter were women.

In the past five years, the number of people - mostly men - employed in mining has risen from 117,000 to 161,000.

Mrs McCauley said the Kidman business sought people with horse riding, cattle handling and motor bike riding skills.

"Generally, we employ people who want a long-term position in the Australian beef industry because we spend a lot of time training people," she said.

"We have senior female employees in our stock camps who could go on to take leading hand or overseer positions and one has recently been promoted to headstockperson."

Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows more females are employed in farming than 20 years ago, and females make up a much higher proportion of total employees.

In 1984, there were 254,400 men and 46,300 females employed on Australian farms compared to 171,900 men and 49,200 females today.

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