Over 250 attendees gathered in Brisbane for the second Australian Meat Business Women (MBW) conference, headlined by founder and global chair of MBW, Laura Ryan. The theme of the conference, “Changing the culture of the industry” unpicked the challenges of female participation and took some practical and direct actions towards providing solutions.
The high calibre speaker line-up included gender diversity advocate Julie McKay, RMAC CEO Anna Campbell, ex-butcher and Queensland Senator, Susan McDonald and inspirational and talented technology leader and founder of Lumachain, Jamila Gordon.
It was a reassuring message provided by AMIC CEO Patrick Hutchinson in his opening address when he said, “The time for talk about inclusion and diversity is over. We now need to deliver practical tools and programs to ensure we make progress and the gap can be closed on diversity, labour shortages and poor retention of women in the industry.”
Over 300 ideas were tabled in the energetic session and these will now form the basis of a toolkit being developed to tackle these issues. “Everyone in the room had a voice,” Patrick said.
Due for release next year, the toolkit will provide practical solutions to help businesses make their workplaces attractive to female talent and keep them there.
“We are committed to providing more events, the toolkit, awards and continued advocacy,” he said.
Laura Ryan praised the work the Australian MBW team has achieved in the short time it has been formed. She also shared what the future holds for the group, including further global expansion, commercial partnerships and an international mentoring program.
The Australian meat sector is worth about $30 billion per year to the Australian economy and between direct and indirect roles, is responsible for around 200,000 jobs.
AMIC is the peak council that represents retailers, processors, wholesalers and smallgoods manufacturers and is the only industry association representing the post-farmgate Australian meat industry.
The next Australian Meat Business Women event is scheduled for May 2020.
For more about the event and future Australian events visit www.amic.org.au/mbw
For information on MBW globally head to https://meatbusinesswomen.org/