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Women in Seafood, raising awareness

Published by FiskerForum, 10-10-2017 · info@fiskerforum.dk

Around half of people worldwide working in the seafood industry are women – but despite this figure, there is very little by the way of equality as women’s jobs are overwhelmingly at the lower-paid end of the scale. A new organisation, the International Association for Women in Seafood Industry (WSI), has been established to raise awareness of the industry’s gender imbalance.

WSI was set up at the beginning of 2017 and made its first formal appearance at the IceFish exhibition last month. According to journalist and seafood industry analyst Marie Christine Monfort, the driving force behind establishing WSI, the reality is that the majority of women in seafood are in low-paid work and very few break through the glass ceiling.

‘Our priorities are to raise awareness of the situation of women in seafood. We want people to be conscious of this and to think about it. At the same time we don’t want to take on more than we can manage. It’s a complex business and we have to select our objectives,’ she said, adding that the University of Vigo’s school of international trade and business supported WSI with a grant to take three female graduates working in seafood – Mariana Toussaint who works for the FAO in Rome, Sofía Loronzo Paramos who works at Spanish fishing company Pescanova and Carmen Gonzáles Garcia of the Vigo-based Fishing Accelerator – to Iceland for the exhibition.

WSI is running an online survey on gender attitudes across the fishing and seafood sectors, and people working in the industry are encouraged to take part.

‘We are gradually changing things,’ Marie Christine Monfort said. ‘It’s a long process but we can’t wait for the men in the seafood industry to decide that it’s time to let more women in.’

She made the point that the seafood industry as a whole has a workforce that is approximately 50% female, but the bias is such that the overwhelming majority of these are not visible.

‘These are the lowest paid people and they don’t have a voice. This is a very conservative industry, and leaders of the fishing and aquaculture sectors seem to not be aware of this situation. We need to raise awareness – and we hope to inspire changes. WSI wants to be part of this movement.’

WSI’s survey into gender attitudes in the seafood sector can be found here

Source: WSI

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