When Nellie Hayes started in agricultural college twenty years ago, there were three women and 80 men on the course.
The industry was dominated by men, and women were a rarity both on the land and in businesses serving agriculture like rural real estate.
Now, she say, it’s very different. She is Director/Sales and marketing for Ray White/Rural in Glen Innes which specialises in rural property.
She went to agricultural college in Orange because she was immersed in the industry, having grown up on a property with cattle and sheep.
Once men saw that she knew what she was talking about, she says, they respected her. A few women in the industry then became more, and now a female presence is unremarkable.
She has two daughters and she thinks there should be no career from which they should feel excluded.
According to her company, there has been a trend. “You might expect the rural property game to be dominated by men,” said Lyndsey Douglas, head of innovation at Ray White.
You might expect the rural property game to be dominated by men. After all, traditionally stock and station agents have been men. But today, our national rural network is made up of slightly more women than men.Lyndsey Douglas, head of innovation at Ray White.
“But today, our national rural network is made up of slightly more women than men. And not just in back office and critical support roles, but in business ownership and as top-ranked sales people.”
She said that across Australia, 31 per cent of the offices in Ray White Rural were owned by women. On top of that, women dominated top client reviews and three of the top five sales performers were female.
The chief executive of Ray White Rural and Livestock, Stephen Nell, said: “Eight of the top ten of our highest rated rural agents by clients are women”.
One female real estate agent said that women offered a different style of marketing – they were more human, with more interaction and “caring” with both sellers and buyers.