Net­work pro­vides a voice for women

Talks about Jan’s ex­pe­ri­ences with the QRWN

Central and North Burnett Times - - OVER 50S -

GREAT LEADER: Jan Darlighton founded the Queens­land Ru­ral­Women’s Net­work in 1993 and her story will shortly be re­leased in The Cel­e­bra­tion of a Net­work: The QRWN Story. JAN Dar­ling­ton is the type of great leader who drew great lead­er­ship out of oth­ers.

After see­ing how women were over­looked de­spite their ex­per­tise, the Monto cat­tle and dairy farmer formed The Queens­land Ru­ral­Women’s Net­work in 1993, to em­power coun­try ladies and give them voices.

The story of her jour­ney with the net­work up un­til 1998 is set to be re­leased in The QRWN Story and she hopes the read will in­spire other women to feel em­pow­ered.

“I think net­work­ing, and talk­ing to peo­ple face to face is even more im­por­tant now than it was back then,” she said.

“There’s so much tech­nol­ogy, but you re­ally

Jan Dar­ling­ton Back then, we weren’t get­ting recog­nised be­cause we were women. But I think this net­work showed peo­ple what they can do if they speak with one tongue.

need to look peo­ple in the eye.

“If any­one has some good in­for­ma­tion and ex­per­tise, then it should be shared.”

Even to­day, Mrs Dar­ling­ton said she could see where their “lit­tle fin­gers” had in­flu­enced change in peo­ple’s lives.

“The night where I felt good was in Can­berra, when I was a judge at the Na­tional Ru­ral­Women’s Awards,” she said.

“There were about 17 nom­i­nees and we had in­flu­enced all of their lives in some way.

“Back then, we weren’t get­ting recog­nised be­cause we were women.

“But I think this net­work showed peo­ple what they can do if they speak with one tongue.”

And speak­ing with one tongue is still just as pow­er­ful now as it was 20 years ago.

“The big is­sue we have now are farm gate prices. They have to get bet­ter or some peo­ple will just have to walk away,” she said.

“If we don’t stand united on this is­sue we won’t get any­where. Farm­ers need to stand to­gether and ar­gue if nec­es­sary.”

While Monto has some of the best farm­ers in the world, she said what we needed now were more great lead­ers.

“We have got well-re­spected young lead­ers but they have no time. They are flat out on the farm,” she said.

“I think once you get th­ese prices through, and they don’t have so many farm stresses, ev­ery­thing else will fall into place.

“Farm­ers will have the means to be­come com­mu­nity lead­ers.”

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

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