Case studies of rural business women in Western Australia and their contribution to the region

Case studies of rural business women in Western Australia and their contribution to the region Journal Article

Rural Society

  • Author(s): Haslam McKenzie, F.
  • Published: 1998
  • Volume: 8

Abstract: It is well known that agricultural Western Australia has experienced chronic socioeconomic difficulties in the last twenty years associated with depopulation and centralisation of services. In the last decade there have also been significant financial and economic changes in the national and international agricultural sector. Extensive agricultural sector research (Lawrence 1986; Lawrence, Vanclay & Furze 1992; Tonts 1996a; Lloyd & Malcolm 1997; Taylor 1991) has shown that the demand for efficiency together with world agricultural and technological trends have all attributed to far-reaching change in the Australian agricultural sector. In Western Australia, 1.25 million of a total state population of 1.7 million people live in the capital city Perth, while the small rural population is scattered unevenly over a huge area. The wheatbelt which stretches from Geraldton in the north to Esperance in the south is a large geographic area, which has never been heavily populated and has few rural urban centres. Even though the overall population of the region has increased in the years between 1961 and 1996, research (Haslam McKenzie 1998b) shows that those Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) divisions which are limited to agricultural production and can be defined as completely rural show a persistent decrease in population. The depopulation trend is exacerbated when the populations of regional towns in these more rural districts are excluded. Despite these statistics, there is evidence supporting the finding that a number of towns have been able to grow or at least remain static in terms of growth as services are directed to larger rural towns. There have been a number of businesses that have developed and grown in and around these centres, some of which are directed, owned or part owned by women. It would seem from a recent survey (Haslam McKenzie 1997) and other research (Elix & Lambert 1998; Management 1998; Haslam McKenzie 1998a), that women bring to rural businesses, both on and off-farm, a perspective not appreciated that is meaningful and measurable, in terms of community viability. This paper will present some examples of women who are committed to their businesses, regions and the rural future. It will discuss the issues that women consider important, and how women's perspectives can contribute to the long term viability of a rural region.

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Suggested Citation
Haslam McKenzie, F., 1998, Case studies of rural business women in Western Australia and their contribution to the region, Volume:8, Journal Article, viewed 10 August 2022,

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