What do people who work in the meat industry look like? Do you envisage burly butchers, weather-worn farmers, maybe big-booted mechanical handling factory workers? Do you picture any women in that line-up? Perhaps you might, but for the majority of the public, the meat industry has a male face. That’s why Meat Business Women has launched a global campaign to challenge people’s perception of meat industry workers with the response, “she looks like me”.
FPE General Manager, Tania Carey, who is a member of the committee, believes FPE has an important role to play in bringing more talented women into the meat industry.
“Where we can, we will bring women into our team. Personally, I’d love to see more women in sales and technical roles, so we will always encourage women to apply.”
Keep reading to learn more about the ‘she looks like me’ campaign, how you can get involved and real insights from senior members of staff at FPE.
‘She Looks Like Me’
‘She Looks Like Me’ showcases the breadth of roles and career options that exist in the meat supply chain, featuring images and video testimony from women who work in the global meat industry. It’s running across all social and digital channels, including LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter, throughout 2021.
A first of its kind for the meat industry, the campaign aims to challenge stereotypes about working in meat and puts a human face to the sector at a time when it faces increased public scrutiny and pressure to become more diverse. Last year, a report commissioned by Meat Business Women revealed women make up just 36% of the meat industry’s global workforce and hold just 5% of chief executive roles.
Laura Ryan, global chair of Meat Business Women, which created ‘She Looks Like Me’, says:
“To attract and retain more female talent, the meat industry needs more visible role models and to showcase a wider variety of roles. Many people still think working in the meat industry means being a farmer or working on the production line – and they often think it means being a man. By championing real women who work in our sector, ‘She Looks Like Me’ will shine a light on the meat industry in a way that’s never been done before, giving it a human – and female – face and showing the career options that exist.”
Q&A with FPE’s senior women in meat
How long have you been in the meat industry?
Tania: You could say since I was a kid, I remember sticking address stickers on my dad’s brochures at a very young age. I also emptied the rubbish bins and saved the stamps from all the mail, I had a thriving stamp collection as a result. I’ve been back in Australia as the General Manager of FPE AUS/NZ for 13 years now.
Linda: 26 years.
Jodie: 34 years.
How did you get first into the meat industry?
Tania: My dad. He started the business in 1983. We’ve always been close and I joined FPE to begin working with him in 1996.
Linda: FPE employed me!
Jodie: I actually left a career in dancing due to injury and my dad (Brian Carey) said, “well, now you have to come and work with me at FPE” and that’s where I have remained!
What does your role entail?
Tania: My job title is General Manager and with that I am responsible for driving the business strategically, but I am our Sales/Marketing Manager too so everything these two roles entail are also a part of my daily task list. We are a small family business so I wear many hats. My intuition, grit, good sense and determination make me a good fit as GM.
Linda: As Office Manager, my role entails administration, logistics, IT and managing staff.
Jodie: Like Tania, I wear many hats, but in particular I ensure all the equipment we provide to the industry meets current Australian/New Zealand Standards with a particular focus on OH&S safety and food safe requirements. I also ensure that FPE is meeting its obligations as a company and complies with relative legislative requirements within our business here in Australia and New Zealand. Through our own internal quality requirements, I ensure our customers are always taken care of through our non-conformance system for warranty replacements and customer satisfaction.
What do you find most fulfilling about the work you do?
Tania: My role has a lot of components so the variation of work has me involved in all areas of the business and our people. My favourite part of my role is the marketing, the work around our brand and telling our story, that’s really personal and I am honoured to be able to do that.
Linda: The variety, plus our team and customers make the job enjoyable.
Jodie: Meeting and engaging with many different people in the industry. Our staff – we all believe in the same values and have fun along the way.
What do you think women have to offer the meat industry?
Tania: We are certainly organised (not to say men aren’t) but we can juggle many things. And certainly a different type of empathy, a softer approach perhaps in delicate times and diverse thinking for sure.
Linda: We are organised and able to take the stress out of most situations.
Jodie: A passion to succeed, calmness and great organisation skills.
What can women get out of working in the industry?
Tania: It’s fast paced and truly interesting, it’s food and an incredibly important sector in our economy.
Linda: The industry is ever evolving and, as such, women are being given more of a voice.
Jodie: A really fulfilling and satisfying career that they never knew existed.
If you could send a message to a young woman thinking about her future after education or considering a career change, what would you say to promote the meat industry as a positive choice?
Tania: In senior roles we are a minority, no question about that, but if you are good at what you do, opportunities to be in senior roles exist and the possibilities are endless.
Linda: This is an industry where women can really make an impact. Usually women can be found at the end of the supply chain (in cooking the meat) but there is so much more opportunity for women in the industry than that.
Jodie: The meat industry has so many roles that women can enter into; it’s not all blood and guts, there are roles for engineers, food/meat scientists, quality control, veterinary officers, management and the list goes on. It’s always changing, no day is ever the same, you should give it a go!