WOMEN DIG­GING IN

A project is un­der way to en­cour­age and fos­ter the par­tic­i­pa­tion of women in agribusi­ness. Sarah Byrne re­ports.

Paradise - - Strictly Business -

Women in ru­ral Pa­pua New Guinea are keen to en­gage in agribusi­ness, but many have tra­di­tion­ally strug­gled to take leadership roles. That is be­gin­ning to change, Curtin Univer­sity re­searcher, Dr Gina Koczber­ski, says.

Op­er­at­ing small-scale agribusi­ness fi­nan­cially em­pow­ers women by giv­ing them greater con­trol of house­hold in­come and ex­pen­di­ture, ac­cord­ing to Koczber­ski, who is re­search­ing ways women in ru­ral ar­eas of PNG can take up more leadership roles in agribusi­ness.

It also re­sults in a range of ben­e­fits for the wider com­mu­nity. On av­er­age, 75 per cent of in­come gen­er­ated by women is used to meet fam­ily needs, com­pared with 25 per cent of men’s in­come.

Koczber­ski also ob­serves that when women take on en­tre­pre­neur­ial roles, fam­i­lies are more re­silient and ca­pa­ble of adapt­ing to ex­ter­nal shocks, such as drought, ill­ness or death.

“Women in ru­ral Pa­pua New Guinea are be­gin­ning to en­gage in agri­cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties at a com­mer­cial level.

“The eco­nomic and so­cial im­pacts on fam­i­lies, and com­mu­ni­ties, of more women hav­ing con­trol over their own in­come are likely to be sig­nif­i­cant,” she adds.

How­ever, there is lit­tle knowl­edge of how women can be­come suc­cess­ful en­trepreneurs, or of the bar­ri­ers that limit their en­gage­ment.

Koczber­ski is lead­ing a re­search project to ad­dress these is­sues, which she will con­duct with Pro­fes­sor Ge­orge Curry, also from Curtin Univer­sity’s Depart­ment of Plan­ning and Ge­og­ra­phy.

The project is funded by a PGK2.88 mil­lion grant from

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