Women man the engine room of change in red meat

Women man the engine room of change in red meat


Beef Cattle
INSPIRING: Emily Coutts, from Oakey Beef Exports in Queensland, speaks about attracting, and retaining, women in the meat industry workforce at the innovative Meat Business Women event in Brisbane.

INSPIRING: Emily Coutts, from Oakey Beef Exports in Queensland, speaks about attracting, and retaining, women in the meat industry workforce at the innovative Meat Business Women event in Brisbane.

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Innovative Meat Business Women program in Brisbane sells out.

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IT was women working as sausage linkers in Melbourne who lobbied for Australia's first equal pay decision 50 years ago.

Women are the single largest influencing force in red meat sales in Australia, purchasing 73 per cent of all fresh meat product.

And where women make up at least 30 per cent of a company's board, profits are higher by 15pc.

Women make up just under half Australia's workforce.

Yet they account for less than 25pc of the meat industry's workforce at a time when almost 4000 job vacancies in the sector are advertised at any given time.

There was an endless stream of compelling reasons why the post-farmgate red meat industry should tap into this valuable resource presented at an innovative event hosted by the Australian Meat Industry Council in Brisbane today.

But no one in the 300-strong audience, most of them women, needed convincing.

They were there to nut out the 'how' of attracting and retaining women to their industry and they made big strides to that end.

A new toolkit and whitepaper about female participation in the industry is now in the making, likely to be launched early next year.

It will cover everything from changing entrenched mindsets and cultures and busting myths to work-life balance, competitive remuneration, career path opportunities, mentoring and the image of the industry.

The Brisbane event was part of the Australian arm of Meat Business Women, an initiative launched in 2015 by the UK Beef and Lamb Board's first female sector strategy director Laura Ryan. It is about shaping the image, culture and landscape of the red meat game to make it attractive to female talent, and to support the women already working within it. AMIC has been instrumental in its development in Australia.

Ms Ryan gave a convincing call-to-action talk at today's event, along with a host of high-calibre speakers including AMIC's chief executive officer Patrick Hutchinson and the Red Meat Advisory Council's CEO Anna Campbell, one of the industry's most visible role models.

They touched on the natural relationship building talents of women and the idea the female voice would play a critical role in engaging with evolving community expectations around red meat, where people were not likely to pay any heed to assurances from middle-aged men on topics of sustainability and animal welfare.

Full reports on the key messages from speakers at MBW Brisbane to come.

SEE ALSO: Shaping red meat to attract female talent.

The story Women man the engine room of change in red meat first appeared on Farm Online.

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