A women's network

CLA Director General Sarah Hendry reflects on the 18 months since the CLA Women's Network was launched, and explores what the future holds
Women's Network 1

The CLA Women’s Network has had a positive first 18 months since its launch. Some of our plans for live events had to be deferred thanks to Covid-19, but we ran two successful national leadership webinars online during lockdown, and last summer and autumn saw the network getting into gear with a series of regional networking events.

The Women’s Network meeting point at the CLA Rural Business Conference in December also enabled us to meet many of the women members attending. Reflecting on the ambitions we had when the network was created, we must now ask: are we making progress against our objectives of getting to know women members better, encouraging them to get more involved in the CLA and creating networking and professional development opportunities? Well, the networking is off to a good start, and there are plans for much more in 2022. These will be both online and in person, and will include professional development workshops. Keep up to date with what’s happening, especially in your region, via the CLA website, which has a calendar of future events, as well as recordings of past webinars.

Victoria womens network

The network has also helped us get to know many more women who have been active in CLA member farms and other businesses, often for many years, but whom we have not had the opportunity to get to know previously. It gives us even more fascinating insights and examples that we can use to showcase the contribution of CLA members to the rural economy. You will have heard about some of these in Land & Business articles, and during our national conferences in 2020 and 2021. As for encouraging more women to get involved in the CLA, South West Director Ann Maidment is seeing the effect.

“At a regional level, branch committees are the lifeblood of the CLA, playing an integral role in channelling members’ concerns and developing national policy. The dynamic of these committees is incredibly important in both expertise and experience. Here in the south west, we have been fortunate to have several women members not only join our committees but progress through to branch officer, national committee and even now national officer roles”.

It may also not be a coincidence that so many women put themselves forward in the strong field for CLA Board roles. As a result, we will have equal numbers of men and women on the Board from 2022 - not through ‘positive discrimination’ but thanks to a wide choice of excellent candidate, both men and women.

Important dates to save

22 March 2022 - 12-1pm

The next in our national leadership webinar series will feature guest speaker Judith Batchelar, who was until recently Sainsbury's iinfluential director of brand.

27 September 2022

Women's Network evening reception, central London

Find out more about the CLA Women's Network