Women — and especially rural women — who make up almost 51% of the Eurobodalla Shire should be recognised on the International Day of Rural Women for their strength and the role they often play as the backbone of their community, according to Eurobodalla Labor for Council’s candidate Claire McAsh.

Mrs McAsh, a local business owner in the oyster industry, grew up in Moruya and says women working in aquaculture and agriculture are indispensable.

“The old saying ‘if you want something done, ask a woman‘ certainly applies in the oyster industry,” Mrs McAsh said today.

The United Nations-declared recognition celebrates the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women globally, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.

“In Eurobodalla, there are dedicated women’s groups which serve the needs of rural and town women including the Country Women’s Association, Moruya Women’s Refuge, Women in Business South Coast, Eurobodalla Domestic & Family Violence Homelessness Support Service, South East Women and Children’s Services, and Sapphire Coast Business Women, among many,” she said.

“The NSW Farmers’ Association is an excellent resource for women with their support for farmers; I highly recommend the Department of Primary Industries’ Young Farmers Business Program for any younger women farmers to get access to new business ideas, tools, products and services, and V-LAB: Activate Your Value is also a terrific initiative.

“The business mentorship program has been very helpful for our family and helped us pull together to plan the how, when and what of the next five years’ growth on our oyster farm.

“Women in rural industries, be they on the land or on the water, work just as hard as the guys and I know in the oyster industry, women are working on the water, as well as behind the scenes with invoicing, marketing, administration, sales and media,” she said.

Rural women constitute one-fourth of the world’s population and they play a critical role in the rural and national economies of many countries. In Eurobodalla, many women are employed across a wide range of sectors including agriculture, aquaculture, aged care, hospitality and transport as well as carrying out most of the unpaid care work including caring for children, older family members and the sick.

Mrs McAsh has qualifications and a strong background in environmental science, and is now focused on water quality and aquaculture, as well as a farm management app developed to make farming easier, more strategic and more profitable for farmers.

“As a rural woman, it is as important to me as we promote aquaculture products to feed the world and to capture its excess carbon, that we also commit ourselves to sustainable development practises,” she said. “It’s great to connect with women who are as passionate and hard working as I am.

“I am looking forward to the resumption of conferences and trade shows so I can return to personal contact with other women in the rural sector. I celebrate and acknowledge all those amazing women on the land and water,” Mrs McAsh added.

Eurobodalla Labor for Council’s candidates in the 4 December local government elections are: for mayor, David Grace from Broulee; and as councillors, Maureen Searson from Batehaven, Matthew Findlay from Batemans Bay, Claire McAsh from Moruya, Deirdre Russack from Narooma, and Jack Egan from Rosedale.