A global campaign, backed by leading meat businesses, has been launched to change perceptions of careers in the meat sector, highlight female role models and encourage more women to join the industry.

‘She Looks Like Me will showcase the roles and career options that exist in the meat supply chain and feature images and video testimony from women who work in the global meat industry.

It will run across social and digital channels, including LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter, throughout 2021.

First of its kind for meat sector

A first of its kind for the meat sector, the campaign aims to challenge stereotypes about working in meat, and put a human face to the industry at a time when it faces increased 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’, said: “To attract and retain more female talent, the meat industry needs more visible role models and 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.”

Women working in the meat industry

The launch of the campaign today (Wednesday, May 26) is being marked with the release of a video featuring over 50 women working for leading meat business around the world.

These include CEOs, farmers, retailers, technical, commercial and NPD managers as well as those in finance and production roles.

This will be followed by a series of ‘day in the life’ videos providing a more detailed glimpse behind the scenes of working life in the meat sector.

Meat Business Women has created a digital toolkit, including social media visuals, to help meat businesses and individuals upload their own #shelookslikeme content, humanise the jobs they do and more widely promote career opportunities in their sector.

‘One to Watch’ winner backs #shelookslikeme

The launch of ‘She Looks Like Me’ comes as Meat Business Women revealed the winner of this year’s ‘One To Watch’ award, the annual prize for emerging female talent in the meat industry.

The 2021 winner is April Dear, site development manager for the Cranswick Convenience Foods site at Sutton Fields in the UK, who was chosen for her tenacity during the Covid-19 pandemic and vision for bringing young talent into the meat industry.

April Dear

As part of her winning entry, April spoke out about the need for better career role models and shared her concern about a lack of good-quality information about meat industry jobs, particularly in schools.

She told the ‘One to Watch’ judging panel: “I had no idea a role like mine existed. When I was at school, I said I liked cooking and they told me to be a chef or a dinner lady. Those were my two options. Now, I get to put products on the shelf.”

Winners of the ‘One to Watch’ prize receive a £4,000 (approx. €4,600) investment into their personal development.

April plans to use the money to establish a cross-industry programme to engage young people in schools and inspire them to explore meat industry careers.

Meat Business Women

Meat Business Women is the global membership organisation for women in the meat industry.

It works in partnership with meat businesses, focusing on five key areas: changing perceptions of the sector; moving inclusion up the agenda; tackling the broken career ladder; strengthening networks and creating visible role models; and gender-proofing working practices and patterns.

Meat Business Women’s strategic partners include ABP; Cranswick; Dunbia; Hilton Food Group;  Klöckner Pentaplast; Linden Foods; Moy Park; OSI; Pilgrim’s Pride; Kepak; and 2SFG.