Girl power from Miss 2015 Showgirl
March 15, 2016 1994 Views

Girl power from Miss 2015 Showgirl


Hannah Piper has reflected on a year spent being a voice for the minority in the Central West after being crowned the Bathurst Showgirl 2015.

Encouraging women to stand up, speak out and participate in rural issues and the agricultural industry has been her focus, and she hopes she has made a difference in the local community.

Piper took home the prestigious Bathurst Showgirl title over nine other girls at the 2015 Royal Bathurst Show. The 23-year-old grew up in the Bathurst region and has always taken an interest in the farming sector. However the obvious lack of females in the industry has not passed her unnoticed.

“You go to any convention or farmers’ conference and out of 50 [people] you’d be lucky to have eight to 10 women,” Piper said.

2015 Bathurst Showgirl Hannah Piper is calling for women to become involved in agriculture.

2015 Bathurst Showgirl Hannah Piper is calling for women to become involved in agriculture.

It is because of this lack of female representation that she believes the Showgirl competition is such a great and important initiative. It is really about promotion and getting women involved.

“The Showgirl initiative finds a young rural ambassador, not only for the agricultural show movement but for the community as a whole.

“It is about finding a young female advocate because at the end of the day, women are the backbone [of the farming industry].”

Piper isn’t the only one noticing the gender gap in the Central West. Watershed Landcare, in conjunction with Central West Lachlan Landcare, introduced a ‘Women in Agriculture’ plan in 2015 designed to give women training, mentoring and support in rural communities to increase the profile of women in the industry.

Meanwhile, the Central Tablelands Local Land Services launched a ‘Women in Ag’ group last September to strengthen the skills and engagement of women in the industry.

These groups support Piper’s views on the importance of getting the younger generation interested and involved in agriculture. She believes the fate of the agricultural industry weighs on the shoulders of the next generation, so it is crucial to have engaged, interested and supportive females in the industry for it to survive.

“We need not just younger women but the younger generation as a whole to become more involved, to become more vocal because we are the future. If we can get involvement now, it’s going to be a lot easier down the track.

“I hope I’ve made a little bit of an impact. I’ve mostly been promoting involvement. “

Piper has spent the past 12 months being a friendly face and the poster girl for the farming industry, awarding prizes and assisting at shows around the region. She hopes her presence at shows and local festivals has encouraged other young women to step out of their comfort zone and take a stand for what they believe in.

With the 2016 Royal Bathurst Show taking place next month, Piper strongly encourages anyone interested in the Showgirl competition to take part.

“It brings a whole bunch of like-minded, passionate women together to network, and of course it’s fun too.

“There is certainly nothing bad that will come out of the experience… the networks that I’ve made in the past 12 months have been fantastic.”

Piper is currently studying a diploma of enrolled nursing at TAFE in Bathurst. At the completion of her degree she plans on undertaking further study in the hope to eventually join the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

The 2016 Royal Bathurst Show will take place from the 8th-10th of April, 2016. Entries for the Showgirl competition are now open and you can enter the competition or find out more information by visiting the Bathurst Show competition website.

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