Tuesday, 23 March 2021 16:55

Girls can do anything!

Written by  Staff Reporters
The United Fresh team celebrating Women In Horticulture. The United Fresh team celebrating Women In Horticulture.

Industry collective Women in Horticulture (WiH) – along with the Massey Hort Society hosted – recently held a livestream event to acknowledge the vital role that women play in New Zealand’s $6 billion horticulture industry.

Speakers in a variety of senior management roles across the industry shared their experiences in the event timed to take place on International Women’s Day – March 8.

Catherine Lewis, executive member of WiH and director of Lewis Farms, says the livestream event was an opportunity for women to share their experiences and develop an environment that will empower the thousands of women working in the horticulture industry across New Zealand.

“Women have a significant contribution to make to the decision-making process at all levels of the industry.”

Lewis says many of the women working in horticulture are facing new pressures with working from home during and after lockdowns.

“Entertaining and home-schooling children, dealing with tighter household budgets and still trying to hold down a job are challenges that particularly effect our female workforce,” she adds.

A UMR study last year found that despite women representing 50% of workers in the industry, they held less than 20% of leadership positions.

Paula Dudley, general manager of United Fresh and executive member of WiH, says the emphasis from the UN on the empowerment of women in the fresh produce industry reinforces work already underway in NZ.

“Initiatives such as WiH that are dedicated to raising the profile of women in the industry and to encouraging women’s participation from entry level to right through to leadership roles are the key to bringing about positive change in our industry,” she says.

More events are planned throughout 2021 to highlight female workers and HortNZ’s conference, in August, will include dedicated breakfast sessions for women with an address from Jan Tinetti, Minister for Women.

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