STRONGER TOGETHER: Katie Zerner, Cilla Pershouse, Kylie Slack, Angela Hutchinson and Terena Staib at BIEDO's Women in Agriculture Day in Mundubbera on October 15,the International Day of Rural Women.
STRONGER TOGETHER: Katie Zerner, Cilla Pershouse, Kylie Slack, Angela Hutchinson and Terena Staib at BIEDO's Women in Agriculture Day in Mundubbera on October 15,the International Day of Rural Women. Contributed

Resilient, powerful, diverse: Rural women celebrated

A COALSTOUN Lakes businesswoman and mother-of-three shared her story with more than 100 rural women in Mundubbera as part of Tuesday's International Day of Rural Women.

Five years ago, Terena Staib founded Australian Naturals Online as a way of collecting all her favourite products in the one place, as she was having difficulties sourcing them herself.

Her business has grown exponentially, so much so she was able to host an expo in Bundaberg last year, Stress Less, Live More, featuring guest speakers, market stalls and live music.

To get to where she is, however, she has been asked to overcome barriers not expected of her city counterparts.

For instance: she can only mail products on Monday, Wednesday or Friday, and "people don't like to wait,” Mrs Staib said.

"We've (also) had a lot of issues with dodgy internet over the years,” she said.

They now have NBN, but it "never lasts the full month” and they pay through the roof for it.

"Everyone (city and country) should be on a level playing field with internet,” she said.

Mrs Staib believes rural women are "forced to diversify” more than their urban counterparts.

"If I lived in the city, I could have one profession, be comfortable and make as much money as I can,” she said.

Whereas Mrs Staib, who is trained as a teacher, runs her own online store while simultaneously caring for her family and supporting her husband in their grazing and earth-moving business.

"A lot of rural women I know have created small businesses on the side as a way of doing extra on top of their normal duties,” she said.

Gayndah child and youth mental health nurse Kylie Slack has a similar experience, in that she has her primary nursing role but she also assists her husband Paul in grazing brahmans and tending to their orchard.

"Everyone has got their role to play,” Ms Slack said.

She said because rural women had so many different hats to wear, sometimes their mental health could fall by the wayside.

"You have to look after yourself: diet, sleep, you've got to take a holistic view of mental health,” she said.

Ms Slack said it could be harder to ask for help in small communities, as opposed to a larger centre like Bundaberg, where "no one knows what you're doing”.

But, she said, there were also incredible opportunities for rural women in terms of forming "natural connections” in the community with like-minded people, which may be more difficult in the city.

Both women were guest speakers at Tuesday's Women in Agriculture Day in Mundubbera, hosted by BIEDO to coincide with the International Day for Rural Women.

This is the third year BIEDO has organised a 'WAGs Day' and it was one of the biggest yet.

"It's such a lovely day to celebrate and acknowledge the work women do in our rural communities,” BIEDO CEO Kristy Frahm said.

"So many positive things come from bringing women together like this.”


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