Meat industry leaders pledge action on gender equality

Coming together with Meat Business Women at the first-of-its-kind roundtable, industry leaders representing eight businesses across the meat processing, retail and foodservice supply chain agreed more progress is needed to improve gender inclusion within the sector. 

Laura Ryan, global chair and founder of Meat Business Women, said: “Reflecting on the headlines from our 2023 industry research on gender representation, collectively we agreed more can be done. It’s clear the meat industry lags behind other sectors with women only making up 33.5% of the workforce, down from 36% in 2020.

“It is heartening to see such ambition and commitment from senior leaders on how we tackle this important issue. We outlined next steps to develop actionable industry-wide initiatives to increase gender representation,” she added. 

“We have agreed to bring together a working group, made up of HR leads from our strategic partners who represent businesses across the meat supply chain, who can help shape a framework that prioritises gender inclusion for organisations within the sector.

“There were some great examples shared and discussed among those present, highlighting where we can take learnings from other sectors and programmes,” Laura added. 

“It feels like we can keep up the momentum from today’s roundtable, with an action-focused HR working group being a huge step forwards to jointly affect positive change.”

Attending the roundtable meeting was leaders from ABP UK, Avara Foods, Dawn Meats, Kepak Foods, McDonalds UK & Ireland, Morrisons, Moy Park and Pilgrims Europe, and OSI – all strategic partners of Meat Business Women. 

Niall Browne, Chief Executive Officer at Dawn Meats Group said: “At Dunbia and Dawn Meats it is vital we continue to take proactive steps to drive, support and inspire female representation across the business. 

“Our focus is to ensure opportunities are available for all people based on ability and aptitude, continuing to build on our reputation as the employer of choice.

“The outcomes from today’s Meat Business Women roundtable will take our industry a step closer to realising our collective ambitions.”

Meat Business Women is the United Nation’s recognised global professional network for women working across the meat industry. It was created to improve the sustainability of the meat sector and grow the pipeline of female talent in this male dominated arena. 

To learn more about Meat Business Women, visit

Meat industry leaders pledge action on gender equality 1
Stood left to right: Niall Browne - CEO Dawn Meats Group, Ross Eggleton - Group Operations Manufacturing Director Morrisons, Jean-Marc Spanhero - Food Service Business Unit Director, Pilgrims Europe, Emily Deer - Director Newton Europe, Brian Farrell - CEO Kepak Foods, Ash Amirahmadi - CEO Sofina Foods Europe Seated left to right: Andy Dawkins - CEO Avara Foods, Katharine Haenelt - Managing Director OSI Europe, Laura Ryan - Founder & Global Chair Meat Business Women, Bob Carnell - CEO ABP UK, Laura Henderson - Supply Chain Director McDonald's UK & Ireland


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