Women in Ag Awards 2023 – Meet the jury!

Every competition needs a jury. So do the Women in Ag Awards, which we are organising together with the DLG and will be awarded at Agritechnica next November.

Our jury is composed of women from all over the world who are active in the broad agricultural sector at different levels. We are happy to introduce them to you.

Yuliya Bondarenko (CEO, DLG Ukraine)

The stories of successful female professionals in agribusiness empower, inspire and set a vision for other female colleagues and especially for women starting their careers. With the WomeninAg Award, we give them a voice!

Mathilde Brion (Agri-journalist, France)

As a journalist since 2011, I specialised in the agricultural press in animal production in 2018. Especially in the field, I value the exchange of experiences with farmers and technicians, both men and women. I engage all year round to represent their voices. For me, the promotion of women in agriculture is part of an egalitarian approach at the level of society and nations. I share WIAG’s ambition through its will to “contribute to a future where prices specifically for women will no longer be necessary”. Against the background of a worldwide weakening of women’s rights, it is more important than ever to take action.

Freya von Czettritz (CEO, DLG Holding and founder of DLG-Female Agri Fellows network, Germany)

It is crucial to have more women in our industry, as their perspectives and experiences are irreducibly useful for seeing things from all angles and also encourage innovation.
Women enrich the talent pool, improve teamwork and drive processes with competence and precision.

Promoting women and recognising their achievements not only creates a more inclusive and equal working environment, but also sets inspiring examples for future generations and promotes diversity and equality across all sectors.

Melinda Hashimoto (CEO, Egg Farmers of Australia)

It is often difficult to find women who are willing to mentor others. More women in agriculture will not only make for great leaders, but also great mentors who can help future generations.  Women leaders work together and slowly the ‘boys club’ will see the benefits of women in strategic work and leadership roles, rather than seeing women working only in support roles and behind the scenes. Women are often silent achievers, and that’s why it’s important to have awards like Women in Ag to not only showcase the talent of women in agriculture, but also to recognise the hard work that all women do day in and day out.”

Hella Otten (Founder of Women in Agribusiness network, Germany)

I come from a farm in Lower Saxony (Westertimke) and studied agricultural sciences at CAU University in Kiel.

For over 23 years I worked at NORD/LB, formerly Bremer Landesbank. There I implemented and built up commodity futures trading for the bank in the area of risk management for the agricultural and food industry. I was also responsible for event management in this area, such as the Dairy Industry Day and the Food Industry Day. Currently, I work for the bank in the area of real estate financing.

In October 2017, I founded the WiA – Women in Agribusiness network. In Bremen, 20 women came together for the first time to “network”. Today we are over 100.

Kim Schoukens (Founder and Chief editor Women in Ag – Magazine, Belgium)

After I moved to the countryside as a city girl, a whole new world opened up for me. A world filled with strong women, each one living up to their role on the farm or in the field. These women around me motivated me to start Women in Ag Magazine, sharing their stories. In a positive way, I want to share their knowledge and experiences, inspiring other women in the sector to take steps, implement ideas and bring our sector to life.

With the Women in Ag Awards, we want to highlight these strong women even more, and spread their stories even more intensely.

Sheila Zulu (Agronomist and Trainer at the Martin Richenhagen Future Farm, Zambia)

In Zambia and in most parts of the world, women make up more than 40% of the agricultural labour force.
The work of rural women in agriculture is often underestimated and invisible, especially among smallholder farmers. Women mainly play support roles for men and do not own property or land titles.

If more women are involved in agriculture, their awareness of the nation’s contribution will be raised and gender norms and stereotypes will be broken down. A higher number of women in agriculture would lead to higher productivity, a reduction in the gender gap in the sector and greater gender balance, especially in rural areas. Once women are more involved in agriculture and run it like a business, they own and have control over resources such as land, credit, inputs and other innovations. Moreover, women have a natural strength that facilitates access to markets for agricultural products. Women are always innovating, so a higher proportion of women would encourage the creation of rural women’s organisations or platforms such as Women in Ag where achievements, successes and concerns can be voiced.
It is important to promote women and their achievements because it opens the doors for many women to do amazing things to rise above gender norms and shine in the world. Promoting women spurs them to do better because their work and efforts are appreciated.

Dr. Jane Tapel (Director at Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Engineering Philippines)

When I was a little girl, I witnessed women, especially mothers, cultivating their own small piece of land to supplement the family income. Other women engage in agricultural activities such as processing their farm produce into food and/or selling their surplus farm produce in the community (barangay). In most cases, women are at the forefront of planting rice by hand, tending the fields (weeding, repairing the fields), harvesting, drying the grains and sometimes tamping by hand to obtain clean rice.

These farming activities seem very hard and full of drudgery, but it is an alternative to increase the family income and provide fresh and nutritious food for the children. I studied agricultural engineering in college, which is one of the priority courses for scholarships, with the thought that I can help farmers, especially women, enjoy farming by making it an easy and profitable task. As a practising agricultural engineer, I have noticed that in the past, when less machinery was used, there were more women in agriculture than today, when most farms are mechanised.

From this I have concluded that most women cannot operate the machines and are therefore displaced in the work. Given this scenario, there is a need to develop gender-responsive machinery and train women in mechanised agriculture to keep pace with technological change. The establishment of the Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Engineering (BAFE) slowly contributed to the transformation of the Philippine agricultural and fisheries sector into a modernised agricultural system.

The BAFE, which is the technical arm of the Philippine Department of Agriculture, led the development of the National Modernisation Plan for Agriculture and Fisheries, which is the basis for the government’s infrastructure and machinery interventions. The plan takes gender considerations into account in the design, manufacture, operation and maintenance of machinery components. This gives equal opportunities to all genders and allows us to recognise the unique role and contribution of women in promoting sustainable development.

As Deputy Director of BAFE, I ensure that women (especially female engineers) have the same opportunities as their male counterparts, as we consider competence and work performance as the main criteria. This strategy has contributed to more women studying agricultural engineering. And more professional agricultural engineers employed in the agriculture and fisheries sectors.



With only ten days left, now is the time to apply for the awards!

You can find all the information and apply here


This article was published in Women in Ag Mag 2023-002. Click here to read the magazine.

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