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Editor's Note: Witness to progress
by Fiona Robinson
August 06, 2012
I vividly remember the first seafood industry meeting I attended 15 years ago. It was for the National Fisheries Institute and was held in a hotel ballroom full of men in dark suits. As a female journalist, the thought of covering a male-dominated industry was daunting. Up until that point in my journalism career I hadn’t thought gender would create challenges on the job. How do you get someone to talk who may not give you the time of day because a) you know nothing about the industry and b) you’re a woman? I recall wondering then and in years following how long it would take for more women to enter the industry.
Over the past 10 years there has been a steady influx of women taking important roles, from the boardroom to marketing to purchasing seafood for retailers and restaurants.
Thus the timing is right for this issue’s cover story, A woman’s place, by Assistant Editor Melissa Wood. While progress has been made and the sea of dark suits is now peppered with color, some of the recurring themes in the story include a lack of women serving executive roles and continuing struggles for equality on an international level.
The topic of women’s role in the industry is important for me, as well as for our publisher, Mary Larkin, who also oversees all of Diversified Business Communication’s seafood shows worldwide. We can tell stories of discrimination on the job from Boston to Brussels to Bangkok, which we laugh about now but at the time were teeth-clenching experiences. There is a dearth of female seafood buyers, aside from Darden’s Jennifer Keith, Ahold’s Tracy Taylor [see July SFBTop Story] and a handful of others. This is a role that needs more women. After all, isn’t it female consumers who do the majority of the household purchases and wouldn’t buyers of the same gender know best what they’re looking for in a seafood product?
I hope you enjoy this and the rest of the issue. As always, I welcome your feedback, firstname.lastname@example.org.