Celebrating Suffrage125 with women in the primary sector

September 18, 2018 11:38 pm

Suffrage125 – Women in the Primary Sector


Florence Polson


This year we are celebrating 125 years of suffrage with Ministry for Primary Industries by profiling women in the primary sector. Florence Polson was the founder and first President of what was then known as the Women’s Division of the New Zealand Farmers Union (now Rural Women New Zealand).

Born in 1877 Florence was born in Australia, and later moved to a small farm near Whanganui after marrying William John Polson in 1910. After William was elected President of the New Zealand Farmers’s Union, Florence started to campaign for the needs of rural women and eventually started the Women’s Division of NZFU in 1925, and was elected President of the division the same year.

�The Women�s Division is of distinct benefit to the community because of awakened interest in community conditions and the possibility, by organized efforts, to improve those conditions”, – Florence Polson.#Suffrage125 Ministry for Women, New Zealand


Loshni Manikam


Rural Women New Zealand Member Loshni Manikam is a woman who has contributed significantly to New Zealand�s primary sector. Earlier this year, she was named Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year for her dedication to growing leadership among farming communities.

What do you do in the primary sector?

Loshni: I am a leadership coach and facilitator working with women in the primary sector to overcome the barriers (internal and external) that get in the way of them succeeding.

Why is this important to you and to New Zealand?

The primary sector is an integral part of NZ’s economy, and women make up 50% of that sector. If we can support women to succeed, there is a positive ripple impact on their families, businesses, communities, sector, and New Zealand.

What�s your view about women in primary sector � (if need a prompt � can you tell me about how far we�ve come and how far we have yet to go)

We have come a long way in minimising and managing the external barriers to women succeeding in the Primary Sector – there are more opportunities and a greater appreciation of what we bring to the table. I believe that the biggest gains we can now make will come from us managing our internal barriers.




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