Two New England residents have been announced as finalists for the 2022 NSW-ACT Rural Women's Award.
Rechelle Leahy was named in the 2019 Australian Financial Review's 100 Women of Influence List. Her business, iDecide was born from her own experience following the loss of her mother, grandmother and young husband to cancer in the space of 10 years.
Throughout this time, Ms Leahy realised that many women faced similar issues through different life stages and life events and that a change in policies focused on women's economic security and safety, needed a rural lens. iDecide aims to drive and amplify the voices of rural women faced with uncertain futures and challenges following an end of life journey and open the conversation about death and dying.
The aim of iDecide is to ensure that when the time comes, affairs are in order and loved ones can grieve without second-guessing any final wishes.
Anna Bariwck was named NSW Premier's Woman of the Year and NSW Minerals Council Regional Woman of the Year this week.
A Pharmacy Practice Lecturer in the School of Rural Medicine at the University of New England, Ms Barwick is passionate about improving the health of all Australians through education, advice and advocacy in her role as a medication expert. She founded PharmOnline to connect people with experienced pharmacists to discuss their medication.
Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW Dugald Saunders and Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor announced the 2022 NSW-ACT Rural Women's Award finalists on Thursday.
Ms Barwick and Ms Leahy join Josie Clarke from Bellimbopinni, Erin Williams from Aberdeen and Mea Campbell from Dubbo in vying for the honour of rural woman of the year.
Mr Saunders said this year's finalists have been selected for their potential to impact, innovate and contribute to enhancing the prosperity of rural and regional Australia.
"These finalists all share a passion for driving the future growth of regional NSW, whether it be through improved health services, driving policy change in women's economic security or tackling the isolation associated with living in remote areas," Mr Saunders said.
"Through their passion and commitment, this year's finalists are demonstrating strong leadership and are empowering other women along the way, and I thank them not just for the impact they're having on their local communities, but for their contribution to women in agriculture generally."
The winner of the AgriFutures™ Rural Women's Award will be announced in April and will receive a $15,000 Westpac bursary to enhance their projects, in addition to access to business, leadership and mentoring opportunities. The winner will also go on to compete for the national award later this year.
Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor said the award is a testament to the positive influence more and more women are having in business and agriculture.
"Women are driving innovation in our regions, and I am thrilled the NSW Government can continue to support this award to further raise awareness and publicly recognise the achievements and leadership of women," Mrs Taylor said.
"The calibre of finalists in the Rural Women's Award has been historically extremely strong, and it's fantastic to see this remains the case in 2022.
"The NSW Government fully supports these talented women as they continue to develop their projects and focus on the ongoing positive work within the important industries that are at the heart of our regional communities."
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