Recognizing the roles of women in the seafood industry and making them more “visible” is the goal of a new international non-profit group called Women in the Seafood Industry, or WSI, and input is being gathered from around the world.
“Women are very numerous in the industry, but not very visible. That was the main motivation for the organization.”
Marie Christine Monfort is president and co-founder of WSI which launched from Paris a year ago. Monfort has been working in the European seafood industry for several decades, both as an economist and a seafood marketing analyst.
“After some time I noticed that in most meetings I attended I was surrounded by men, and most conferences I could only see men speaking. I started looking into this issue with men and women colleagues to talk about the unbalance”
One in two seafood workers is a woman, WSI claims, yet they are over-represented in low skilled, low paying positions, and account for less than 10 percent of company directors and just 1 percent of CEOs.
The group aims to shed light on women’s real participation and to promote greater diversity and inclusiveness.
To gather more perceptions on women’s roles in the industry, WSI launched a first of its kind survey in September at a World Seafood Congress in Iceland.
“It went so well that we said why should we stop this exercise of asking people their opinions on the position of women in the industry – why not expand it to the entire world.”
WSI translated the survey into French, Spanish and English and several hundred responses have been collected so far.
“The questions center 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.”
Monfort stresses that both women and men involved in the seafood industry are encouraged to take the gender survey.
“ We insist that men respond as well. It is very important to collect their opinions as well that they have on this issue. And it will be so important to see if men and women have the same opinions or differing opinions.”
The more who join the group will add more strength to the mission of cultivating a better future for women with equal opportunities.
“The more we are the stronger we will be. Our voices will be heard louder and further.”
The “Gender on the Agenda” survey is open through December, and results will be available by early March.