The Irish Seafood Sector contributed €1.15 billion to Ireland’s GDP in 2017. However women’s participation in the industry remains low. Just over one in ten (11.7%) employees in fishing, forestry and agriculture sectors in Ireland is female. This is significantly lower than the EU average of 36.9%.
BIM CEO, Jim O’Toole, emphasised the agency’s role in supporting and encouraging greater female participation in the sector:
“BIM is assisting the Irish Seafood Sector to capitalise on the talents of women in the wider sector. In addition to training and mentorship, we are also working with women across the catching, aquaculture, processing and retail industries to develop a network to share information and ideas that will further progress and elevate their role. BIM’s promotional campaign tells the stories of talented women in a variety of roles, increasing the visibility of women in the sector and celebrating their contribution to this valuable industry”
BIM has worked closely with the catching sector in particular. Many women in this specific sector work behind the scenes managing the accounts for fishing businesses or as the key communicators and fishing representatives in their fishing communities. BIM has formed partnerships with International Women’s Groups to gain insights into how they have developed effective networks, including the Australian Women’s Industry Network Community(WINC).
Jayne Gallagher, Director of WINC was in Ireland last week to meet with individuals from BIM and with women from the Irish seafood sector. Jayne Gallagher spoke of her support of BIM’s plans to develop a Women in Seafood network and said:
“It has reinforced to me that even though we are worlds apart in our circumstances and our experiences, we all want our stories to be heard, we are passionate about our industry and we want to have an impact. Working together we can help ensure a viable future for the seafood industry. Ensuring women are recognised and supported in their roles, takes courage and determination and the fledgling network here needs nurturing from its members and its stakeholders to maximise its impact and potential for the wider seafood industry”
In the lead up to International Women’s Day 2018 on the 8th March, BIM is launching a campaign #Irelandswomeninseafood which will include a series of podcasts that tell the stories of a selection of women who work in the fisheries sector in Ireland. Hear the stories – Women in Seafood.