The Australian who speaks for nearly nine million women from 450 international country women’s organisations has attended the CWA conference of the Namoi Group in Manilla.
Ruth Shanks, from Dubbo, was elected World President of the Associated Country Women of the World in Chennai in India several weeks ago.
She was the keynote speaker at the Manilla event, attended by 80 CWA members from the Namoi’s 21 branches, as well as federal Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce.
Ruth Shanks says it doesn’t cost vast sums to make significant improvements to the lives of women in developing countries.
“It’s amazing what an amount of difference that can make to put a water pump in a village or to provide some tanks for them to collect rain water instead of them having to go down to the river every day,” she said.
“It could also be an income-generating project where they learn how to milk cows, feed their children with the milk and then sell the milk at the market.”
Ruth Shanks says the taking of agricultural land for industrial development is a huge issue impacting women around the world.
She says Australia is not the only place where farming land is disappearing.
“The taking of agricultural land both for industry and for coal seam gas mining, they are a huge issue, but it’s not only in this area,” she said.
“In other parts of the world good agricultural land is being bought up by IT companies and these countries are some of the places are where the call centres are, so the local people were actually losing the land where they grow their crops.”