New program Gender Equality Dialogues lets industry drive growth, inclusivity, and equality

The Seafood and Gender Equality logo

A new program rolled out by Seafood and Gender Equality (SAGE),  has set out to remove key barriers toward achieving gender equality in the seafood industry.

After more than two years of development, the Gender Equality Dialogues (GED) program – launched with the support of seafood collaborations and nonprofits such as Sea Pact – aims to help companies design measurable and actionable commitments toward gender equality, providing participants with the tools and information necessary to drive lasting change.

“I’m thrilled to see such important leaders in the North American seafood industry committing to both collective and individual action to address these challenges and usher in a new era of the seafood sector – one that prioritizes inclusivity and equality,” SAGE founder Julie Kuchepatov said.

The original idea for the GED program stemmed from the recommendations of a 2018 global survey conducted by Women in the Seafood Industry (WSI), an international nonprofit, in which 61 percent of female respondents reported gender inequalities in the industry compared to 38 percent of male respondents.

Recognizing that disparity in responses, the GED will lead participating companies, including initial supporters Fortune Fish and Gourmet, Seattle Fish Co., and Acme Smoked Fish, through a series of virtual meetings to help each organization better manage and address gender issues in the workplace, as well as industry-wide problems. Along with the strong initial industry support, GED is funded by contributions from Builders Initiative, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation. 

The series of discussions will include a briefing of key issues and guidance on how to implement effective commitments to action. With guidance from industry participants, the GED will then support the adoption of guidance and tools that participants can use to implement the commitments they brainstormed while continuing to measure and monitor their progress.

“The Gender Equality Dialogues are for anyone who recognizes that the industry has a gender inequality problem but isn’t sure of the various ways that it exists and how to address it. This program is perfect for us because we are ready and willing to do the work and, now, will have a structure and tools for taking action,” Seattle Fish Co. and a Sea Pact board member Hamish Walker said.

As seafood companies take a greater leadership role in developing and driving change in other areas, such as sustainable and social innovation, programs like the GED that allow for industry-led change have drawn positive attention, as they allow companies to codesign the development and implementation of responsible and equitable practices.

“It’s no surprise that the inaugural cohort of the GED are also members of Sea Pact, as we recognize the power and impact of collaboration. As a founding member of Sea Pact, Fortune Fish and Gourmet is looking forward to participating because, as a collaboration, we are interested not only in funding innovation, but also participating in transformational initiatives that will positively influence the sector for years to come.” Fortune Fish and Gourmet chief human resources officer Brian Gartrell said.

Rob Snyder, chief people and sustainability officer at Acme Smoked Fish, echoed Gartrell, stating “There has never been anything like the GED in seafood, and the sector is ripe for change. We are excited to be part of this effort driving toward a more equitable sector as younger generations are coming up and demanding holistic sustainability efforts that include not only addressing environmental sustainability but gender inequalities as well.”


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