06/01/2021

Will Covid-19 hold women back or will it be their coming of age?

As we approach our 2nd birthday it is safe to say, we have learnt a great deal about Women in the Food Industry and the most overwhelming fact is how little we actually know about all the women in the industry who farm, grow, produce, research, write, cook, prepare, create, market, champion, serve, finance and teach devoting their lives, every day, to feed, delight and inspire us about food.

Serving our families, our communities and our nation we celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit, tenacity and diversity of all the women who inspire, feed and nurture us with food.

WiFi Launch Panel at Allbright with Mex and JanieWomen In the Food Industry launch event: Sabrina Gidda, Suzy Pelta, Janie Ash, Bettina Campolucci, Mex Ibrahim, Anjula Devi and Jodi Hinds

We believe championing diversity was key to success before the pandemic and will play a crucial role as the industry recovers from Covid-19. Women are the most influential decision-makers in the home, business and in all sectors of society – and a gender-balanced industry will deliver real financial results from a business perspective.

In a world where women drive 70% to 80% of all consumer spending, giving women a seat at the table is not only an important step in repairing the gender disparity resulting from Covid-19 as well as a smart business decision.

Asma Khan at Darjeeling Express

Dame Minouche Shafik, Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science, said, “In the past jobs were about muscles, now they’re about brains, but in the future, they’ll be about the heart.”

We believe qualities that have traditionally been regarded as feminine – empathy, vulnerability, compassion – will become increasingly important in post-pandemic work environments, driving better businesses and more enlightened societies.

Female-dominated sectors have been especially badly hit by Covid-19 and few more so than hospitality. Globally, the management consultant firm McKinsey & Company estimates that women’s jobs are 19 per cent more at risk than those of men, given the gender balance in the most affected industries. Some commentators have gone so far as to call the fallout from Covid-19 a “shecession” – a recession that, unlike many others in the past, is disproportionately felt by women.

Bekka Corrie-Close from Horned Beef Company, Cumbria

Across the globe, it has been inspiring to see prior investments in women farmers’ empowerment have begun to pay off—and that the measures have enabled women farmers to contribute to the fight against COVID-19.

Training for small-scale women farmers in Afghanistan in “kitchen gardens” have helped women become food producers. Networks of women farmers in the Pacific Islands have been tapped to help establish basic health checks in their communities and cultivate climate-smart agriculture. In Cote d’Ivoire, women farmers—briefed on COVID-19 health and safety measures—have been able to aggregate their crops and produce food for school meals programs. Investing in measures that can better reach women farmers have widespread impacts—for their wellbeing, and that of their communities.

Women in the Drinks Industry panellists: Julie Prebble, Bettina Campolucci, Helen Nicklin, Mel Brown, Melissa Cole and chair Andi Oliver

In the past year we have featured and written about many female success stories and now we are asking what the food industry is going to look like post-COVID-19.

Will the future be female, diverse, and purpose-driven?

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