Councillor calls for women to join Rural Womens Network

A WIMMERA Councillor is putting the call out for more people in rural Victoria to join a network aimed at connecting country women. 

Yarriambiack Shire Council Cr Helen Ballentine would like to encourage women in the region to join the Victorian Rural Womens Network. 

Whether it’s meeting up for a ‘cuppa’ or learning about how to further one’s career, the, VRWN supports women right across Victoria. 

The free to join network is a supportive and inclusive group of rural and regional Victorian women who connect, share skills and ideas and empower each other. 

The network aims to increase the number of women in decision making roles and work towards equal and fair representation and treatment of women.

A reference group of 17 highly regarded Victorian rural women, including Cr Ballentine, work with government to help shape the network’s objectives, policies, communications and activities where they recently met at Victorian Parliament House in Melbourne. 

Cr Ballentine’s term finishes in March and she is keen to introduce other rural women to the network. 

She said the network provides great connections for learning new things, making friendships, and advocating to parliament on the issues that matter for women in rural areas. 

“Lets get some of the positive news stories about women happening, so we can role model for other women about there being more to life if you want to find more. But also for men to encourage their fellow women, and be proud when they achieve unique things as it is a partnership. Good role models are very important for equality in rural areas,” Cr Ballentine said. 

She said in a rural setting, women should not have to feel isolated, or as though there are no career building opportunities. 

“We want more women to know there is a rural womens network, we don’t want any rural woman to feel she’s isolated because she can’t find an interest that suits her in the rural area,” she said. 

“If you want to be a shire councillor, more qualified, it’s all possible you just need to talk to other women that are doing it.” 

Cr Ballentine said she would like to break down the stigma of women living in rural settings. 

“I need some way to get that message out to the communities, how we can role model equality and the way things should be rather than dominating people with negative stuff,” she said.