June 2000, Volume 11, Number 5
Fantastic Week for Rural Women
Having dinner with the Prime Minister was the highlight of a week of celebrations for rural women in Clutha.
By fitting our invitation into her busy programme it showed recognition of the work we're doing," says Positively Clutha Women's rural women's co-ordinator Nikki Cunningham.
"Rural Women's Week is about raising the profile and diversity of rural women's roles," says Community Employment adviser Christine Parker. "The week's menu of activities provided a platform from which to do just that."
The group first ran a rural women's week in May last year. International rural women's day is held in October each year, but the Clutha women decided that May was a more "rural friendly" time in New Zealand.
This year's activities included a key note address from Paula Ryan, a fashion parade, a Chamber of Commerce "After 5" with Susan Devoy, a bowling tournament, a theatrical performance and a talent day to view local arts and crafts.
Close to 150 people attended the special dinner at which Helen Clark chatted with guests. "It was a real coup for us to get her along," says Nikki.
The week's activities attracted large numbers of participants, many of whom hadn't attended last year. "The whole week was full of smiley faces. We tried to cover a wide range of activities."
Christine says that last year's event had proved so successful that people were "coming out of the woodwork" to offer support and assistance with this year's event. "It was refreshing for the group to have people coming to them rather than them going to others with cap in hand."
Positively Clutha Women, an offshoot from the Clutha Agricultural Development Board, receives support and advice from Community Employment. The celebrations also received support from Lottery Welfare.
In addition to Rural Women's Week, the group's initiatives have included providing training and advice to women wanting to develop business ideas and undertake personal self development. Training is tailored to the needs of women in specific areas of the district. It is run during school hours and includes creche provisions. "Often other field days run to 5pm which isn't suitable for women having to look after children.
Seminars have included dressing for success, running a business from home, farm add-ons, nutrition for women and children, marketing a person, a business or a community organisation, and farm field days for women.
"It's about strengthening their choices and their opportunities," says Nikki.
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