Gen­der-sen­si­tive Ru­ralco shows ‘blokes’ the door

The Weekend Australian - - THE NATION - PAUL GARVEY

For decades, Aus­tralian farm­ers have known Ru­ralco’s na­tion­wide net­work of CRT-branded ru­ral sup­plies stores by their slo­gan, “Your lo­cal bloke”.

But the mantra has now been axed, with Ru­ralco de­cid­ing it is no longer ap­pro­pri­ate.

Ru­ralco used its an­nual con­fer­ence in Perth yes­ter­day to an­nounce the gen­der-spe­cific jin­gle had been cut from the CRT logo and would be phased out at the 500-plus CRT stores across the coun­try.

Ru­ralco chief ex­ec­u­tive Travis Dil­lon said times had changed since the slo­gan was in­tro­duced.

“We are try­ing to en­sure that the group is keep­ing up with the main­stream,” he said. “How would I de­scribe it? It’s not mod­ern. It’s had its day.”

About 32 per cent of Ru­ralco’s 2000-per­son work­force are fe­male, which is above the 28.1 per cent av­er­age in the agri­cul­ture, forestry and fish­ing in­dus­try. Two of its five board mem­bers are women.

The de­ci­sion to axe the slo­gan comes at a time of height­ened sen­si­tiv­ity to gen­der ref­er­ences.

Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau sparked controversy this week when he told a pub­lic fo­rum that he pre­ferred to say “peo­plekind” rather than “mankind”. He has since apol­o­gised, de­scrib­ing it as a “dumb joke”.

Ru­ralco had al­ready phased “Your lo­cal bloke” out of CRT’s ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paigns but it had still been em­bla­zoned across the bot­tom of the CRT logo.

Mr Dil­lon said the move had been a long time com­ing. “It’s not an overnight de­ci­sion, it’s been a live dis­cus­sion in the group for years,” he said.

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