Women working in the meat industry have gathered for an inaugural meeting of the New Zealand chapter of Meat Business Women (MBW) this week.
On Wednesday, Meat Export NZ published the ‘2019 Meat Blacks’, a list of the meat industry’s leaders going into 2019. Of the team, 14 are men with just one woman.
The list has sparked a discussion online about the New Zealand meat industry’s lack of recognised female leadership.
Agriculture leader Lindy Nelson MNZM said female leadership in the industry exists but it appears “token” and is “invisible”. This is despite industry initiatives to train more women.
Obviously leadership in the MEAT sector is male. Maybe someone needs to tell that to the 1 500 FEMALE MEAT LEADERS developed through the @redmeatnz @NZBeefLamb @HoneyBeeGeek . Speehless female leadership appears token and invisible What have i spent the last 10 years doing. https://t.co/2gHqT0waMV— Lindy Nelson (@lindy_nelson_) December 19, 2018
Julia Jones, farm enterprise specialist at KPMG said the meat industry’s leaders should reflect the customer.
Ok so I’m putting myself out on a limb here but isn’t anyone concerned about the lack of diversity (not just gender but in general) in this line up? Shouldn’t this part of the industry better reflect the customer?— Jones, Julia (@juliajones110) December 19, 2018
Deer farmer Duncan Humm had other ideas.
I’ll put myself out on a limb here and say, the thing here while good intentioned is very cheesy at best, but also point out that we need to stop instantly assessing any line up based on gender or diversity. See people for what they contribute, not their skin colour or gender— Duncan Humm (@duncanyzf20) December 19, 2018
Melissa Clark-Reynolds ONZM says it’s time for men to stand up for the women being represented in the meat industry’s leadership.
I am hoping that the men in the meat sector are going to man up and protest this. Its like a manel on a bigger scale. Where are the women? Half the sector and all that...— Melissa Clark-R (@HoneyBeeGeek) December 19, 2018
The list also included other positions, mostly male. On the bench are seven men. Team management consists of 12 men and one woman. The cheerleaders consists of seven men, three women and the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Iron Maidens, a group of women. The referee consists of four men.