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IntraFish-Seafish survey: 'Male-dominated, old-fashioned culture' still a hurdle to women in seafood

Though women in the sector face some significant odds, the overwhelming majority say they encourage other females to enter the sector.

Women working in the seafood industry are still experiencing a high level of gender inequality, just one finding in a recent survey by IntraFish and UK industry body Seafish.

Nearly 65 percent of the 373 respondents, which work in all stages of aquaculture, fisheries and processing jobs across the globe, said they have encountered some form of gender bias during their time in the industry.

About 54 percent believed there is a higher prevalence of gender bias in the seafood industry than in other industries or sectors, while 37 percent believed it was about the same as in other industries.

When asked what they would change in the industry, 43 percent of respondents answered the “male-dominated cultural attitudes,” while about 30 percent said the “old-fashioned or outdated attitudes.”

Only about 14.5 percent of females said they’d like to see conditions that allow for a more flexible working environment for women who want to balance family life with a career.

Despite this, 75 percent of respondents to the survey said they would actively encourage other women to think about a career in the seafood industry.

They named the engaging and challenging work, the people in the industry, career advancement opportunities and travel opportunities as the top four most rewarding factors of working in seafood.

What could attract more females to look at seafood for the next big potential career move, are the good opportunities for progression to a senior role (49 percent), a greater understanding of the scope of roles and opportunities (39 percent), a supportive mentoring program or women’s network (36 percent), and cultural changes (34 percent), the respondents said.

Opinions on the question whether or not more effective regulation on gender equality would help get more women into the industry were divided. 

However, there needs to be more information about the opportunities aspiring female industry leaders would have in seafood.

Nearly 56 percent of the respondents to the survey said there isn’t enough information available to give women full visibility of all opportunities the sector has to offer, while nearly 31 percent believed while there is enough information available, it’s all very fragmented and hard to find.