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Rural women isolated and relying on social media: report

Press Release – Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme

Rural women say isolation is the most significant issue in their lives and traditional rural womens groups are unable to fill that void./

Media Release 31/08/16

Rural women isolated and relying on social media, report finds
Rural women say isolation is the most significant issue in their lives and traditional rural women’s groups are unable to fill that void.

This was the finding of a student research project from the Lincoln University run Kellogg’s Rural Leadership Programme, by NZ Young Farmers Communication manager Nadine Porter.

She says 57 per cent of rural women surveyed find isolation their top issue.

A finding which surprises her most, she says, is where women got their support, with 75 per cent of survey respondents reporting it is social media forums like Facebook.

“It is clear from the survey that traditional rural women’s groups do not feature in their lives,” Ms Porter says.

“Many commented they do not feel today’s groups represent them.

“This means the way in which rural mothers find support has changed as the technological age has imprinted on their lives. Being able to be honest and have anonymity if they desired in a forum such as the 6000 strong Farming Mums NZ Facebook Page was mentioned as being attractive by many women interviewed.”

Porter also says 58 per cent of women surveyed were not using the skills they had been trained for, leaving them unfulfilled.

“There is a wasteland of knowledge among rural women that is not being utilised. From university, to a career and then back to the farm where they may not be able to use their skills, a vacuum exists. While the Government is concentrating on bringing new people into the primary industry we need to ask is there a way in which we can use the skills that currently exist but are not being used to their full potential?”

She says urgent research and targeted initiatives for New Zealand rural women and their families

is needed.

Around 24 per cent of women say their local schools offer them the most support to be a rural woman – highlighting the role rural school Board of Trustees play in empowering and supporting the women in their communities, she adds.

“When coupled with the fact that 48 per cent of respondents say they did not have close family living in the same area as them, isolation as a significant issue continued to be a prevalent theme,” Ms Porter says.


About the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme

The Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme is an established and respected programme in the rural and primary industry sectors with a large alumni who have achieved success in leadership roles in New Zealand agriculture. For more information visit:

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