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Breakthrough for dairy industry as first woman appointed to board

Those of you who have heard me speak about the dearth of women in leadership roles in Australia will know that as a country girl I love drawing a parallel between the heifer ratio on working farms and the corresponding number on our boards… so it was with great interest that I read that Kay Antony made history this week by becoming the first woman elected to the board of Warrnambool Cheese and Butter. As my sister and her family live and work on a dairy farm in Antony’s area, it was of even greater interest.

For an industry that is almost entirely dependent on females, the dairy industry has been a significant laggard when it comes to appointing women on boards.  While Warrnambool Cheese and Butter
shareholders have just appointed their first
female director, no female has ever been elected to the board of
Australia’s largest processor, Murray Goulburn.  According to The Weekly Times, it’s an all-male affair around the boardroom tables of Fonterra, the Bonlac Supply Company, Bega Cheese, Tatura Milk Industries, Lion Nathan National Foods and Dairy Farmers Milk Cooperative.

Appalling really when you consider that women make over 80% of household purchase decisions – and simply bad business sense.  You have to wonder what these blokey boards do to stay in contact with the women they rely on for their bottom lines.

For those of you who want to support the Warrnambool Cheese and Butter company in turn for its support of women on its board, the brands to look out for is  Sungold milk.  A big tick to WCB – and if you have more news from the regional areas I’d love to hear from you.



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