2017 Strong Women Leadership Awards winners and QRRRWN Partners following the presentation night.
2017 Strong Women Leadership Awards winners and QRRRWN Partners following the presentation night. Contributed

Applauding regional women

THE Queensland Rural, Regional and Remote Women's Network is encouraging locals to nominate women in their region for their upcoming annual awards - the QRRRWN Strong Women Leadership Awards - before entries close on July 8.

Network and organising committee member Genevieve Gleeson said entrants were being sought in seven categories: Woman of the Year, Small Business Owner of the Year, Influential Leader Award, Volunteer of the Year, Story Teller of the Year, Inspirational Woman; Young Women's Leadership Award and Young Woman with a Vision.

Mrs Gleeson said regional women didn't expect recognition but "it's nice to look around the community and recognise and honour” each other.

The awards program aims to identify, acknowledge and applaud the leadership strengths of Queensland's rural, regional and remote women.

"I think regional woman are really good at getting stuff done, just because that's what we do.”

Mrs Gleenson said past winners had included a police officer, accountant, small business women, and volunteers from Drought Angels.

"We're basically looking for women who are recognising what is needed in their community and are putting a plan in place to fulfil that need.”

She said some people had started businesses because they knew their region needed that particular service, others had taken an active role in a community group "because they know that if they don't that group will die”.

"It's about recognising that rural communities can't sustain themselves if people don't step up and take on new challenges.”

She said the network empowered women to realise that "your location doesn't determine your ability”.

"You don't have to live in inner-city Brisbane to have a fantastic fashion label.

"You don't have to be a southeast Queenslander to achieve things and develop things that people around the world need.”

The awards also enabled the network to highlight the work of regional and rural women to others around the state.

"I also think sometimes women move into a rural community and they bring a skill set from a bigger centre and we all benefit from that extended knowledge.”

Mrs Gleeson said it had been a tough year for women in rural areas - with drought, flood and fires to battle.

She said she admired their resilience and wanted to encourage people to take the opportunity to recognise others in their communities.

"Rural women are amazingly resilient and they're patient.

"If you can survive rural internet, you can survive anything!” she said.

"And they're inventive and creative.

"They have to be inventive to come up with new ways to tackle old challenges.”

Finalists of the QRRRWN awards will be announced on August 9.

Winners will be announced on September 13 at the QRRRWN Annual Conference Gala Dinner at Goondiwindi.

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