A survey released this month on gender equality in the seafood industry revealed a wide global gap in perceptions by men and women. The online survey received 700 responses, of which 30 percent were men. Twenty seven percent of the total responses came from North America.

“The questions centered around what is in your company the position of women and what is your opinion of the situation of women in this industry. Are there areas where things could be improved or maybe there is no need for any improvement.”

 

Marie Christine Monfort is president and co-founder of the group Women in the Seafood Industry based  in Paris.

Women comprise fully half of the world’s industry workers and the survey gathered opinions from slime lines to CEO board rooms.

A basic finding was that 61 percent of women reported perceptions of gender inequality compared to 48 percent of men.

“One women out of 3 consider they are facing discrimination at work – less than one men in 10 consider women are facing discrimination.  What is important is to see that men and women do not share the same diagnosis. So if the diagnosis not shared, things cannot change.”

WSI data show that only one of the world’s 100 largest seafood companies is run by a female CEO, and 90 percent of directorships are run by men with no women as board members.

Overall, women said they are not given incentives to join the seafood industry, especially at school levels. Many also cited biases in recruitment and hiring, and in working conditions.

“In many companies the work schedule is not flexible and they have difficulty balancing their family life with their work life.”

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An interesting shared view is that 80 percent of both genders felt the industry holds little appeal for women.

“And this is probably the only shared response that men and women believe the same thing – that this industry is not attractive to women.  I think this question should be asked by seafood companies and all stakeholders in this industry.”

 

Scandinavian countries got the highest marks by respondents for perceptions of gender equality at 58 percent; North America totaled 33 percent.

Raising the awareness of gender biases, Monfort says, is the first step towards making positive changes.

WSI has launched a video contest open to all to showcase women working in all areas of the seafood industry.

The winner will receive 1,000 Euros – or $1,165 in US dollars, and their video will be shown at fishery events around the world.

Deadline is the end of August. Monfort says one entry so far has come from Alaska.

 

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