Droughts are devastating.

When our farmers do it tough, everyone hurts – farmers, families, towns.

The effect of current drought conditions is playing out in farming communities all over Australia. Communities crippled by years without decent rains, as well as other natural disasters.

As an essential service provider, with most of its operational sites in regional and country areas, AGL is committed to supporting our farmers, and shining a light on this cause.

Shining a light on ‘Real stories of country women’

As a rural woman myself, I’ve always known how strong women living in our regions are, but times are very tough right now. That’s why we’ve partnered with the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) and Lifeline to bring to life ‘Real stories of country women’ in Australia. AGL has provided $20,000 in funding to bring these stories to the screen.

The six-part documentary series has been championed by Dr Sarah Casey: a lecturer in screen media and communication, but also a fifth-generation scion of a Queensland farming family.

Dr Casey said the project was driven by a desire to hear from women in the bush in their own, raw words about the drought, their communities, and how they’re bridging city-bush understanding.

‘In the mainstream media, we often only hear the same kinds of stories, told through a journalistic lens,’ she said. ‘In this project, we want to hear women talking about their experiences and resilience strategies in their own words.’

Dr Casey teamed with fellow USC teachers and rural women Dr Joanna McIntyre and Dr Gail Crimmins and travelled across the Surat, Roma, Miles, and Charleville regions of Southern Queensland to tell stories of loss, resilience, and positivity through adversity.

The team met a huge variety of women, from entrepreneurs like Kylee Smith of Morven (who runs the well-known Gidgee Smith Bags) and Tricia Agar (who runs Bush Kids), to local leaders like Murweh Mayor Annie Liston and Surat and Balonne Shire councillor Donna Stewart, to farmers and local legends like Judey ‘Rude Jude’ Aiken.

AGL’s committed to supporting the communities we operate in – and the majority of those communities are in regional areas around Australia, so this project is paramount to the social fabric AGL works with.

At AGL, I’ve been supported with opportunities and a voice as a leader, and we want to ensure that the women in our communities have a platform to speak, too and this is why we’re so supportive of this initiative.

There’s a wonderful positivity and resilience among country women. They are certainly not victims – they are survivors who deserve their unique stories told in their own words.

Real Stories of Country Women is available at http://realstoriesofcountrywomen.net.au/