Senior female managers still fighting for a seat at the top table
SOME companies and some countries do things differently, with Norway and Iceland hailed as being among the most progressive in terms of gender equality, the seminar heard.
Mary Larkin, president of Diversified Communications, which organises the expo, and chair or the seminar, praised Canada too.
‘It’s fascinating to see the progression one country can make and the impact they can make,’ she said.
During the second half of the seminar, Larkin asked Marie Christine Monfort, who founded the Women in the Seafood Industry (WSI) organisation, for advice.
‘Men control the purse strings so how do we get them more involved and make them be part of this conversation and realise what women are facing?’
Monfort said it was important to make it clear there is discrimination and show the potential gain, that diversity is good for business…’there are piles of documents, piles of research’.
She decided to set up the WSI because she ‘could see all the work women were doing in this industry and men were taking the decisions’.
‘I had a shock when I attended the NASF, a huge international forum, in 2012, and that day I counted the number of male speakers and female speakers.
‘I realised that something was really wrong because that year five per cent of speakers were women. There were women in the room but they were not invited to take the mike and I realised that things could be done differently.’
She established the WSI in 2016 and it is growing in the attention it captures, and in the number of conferences its members are invited to attend, and in the number of sponsors.
But she said there were still ‘nervous responses, patronising attitudes, and a denial that there is still a problem today’ among some men in the seafood industry.
She stressed the importance of networking: ‘We have seen the success of male networking over the past 2000 years. Women have to build their networks.’
Tesa Diaz-Faes Santiago, director of communications for Grupo Nueva Pescanova in Chile, said she is often excluded from meetings but is told afterwards ‘we need your help’.
‘It would be better if I was in the meeting myself, and had a seat at the table,’ she said.
Larkin agreed: ‘It’s the meeting after the meeting we’re not a part of. I’ve watched the men in our organisation – men network up and women nurture down.
‘I see that with my own female leaders- women are worried about their teams, but men are worried about what their CEOs think.’