ABP Food Group has this week launched a new mentorship and female empowerment programme called ‘ABP She’, that aims to close the gender parity gap within the meat manufacturing industry.
Figures from a recent Meat Business Women (MBW) report show that 36% of the meat industry’s workforce is female, with 14% of those in board level roles and only 5% in executive roles.
The project, which was launched yesterday (Thursday, September 8), is comprised of four main elements including the rollout of a mentorship programme, a female focussed employee assistance programme, education around unconscious bias and the provision of free sanitary products.
The company designed the programme following a number of discussions and focus groups, where it emerged that many employees felt there were a lack of female role models around them.
As part of ABP She, two female employees were nominated at each ABP site to take part in a training course and become a mentor for their colleagues. They will now help the business to identify others on site that wish to develop within the company.
Speaking to Agriland, HR manager with ABP Bernie McGeough explained that the company wants to make career paths visible to all women within the company, so that those who are not sure if they want to progress, can see the option is there. She said:
“Over the course of the next six to twelve months we’re going to start role profiling, identifying female role models in our business and making them visible.
“Then maybe others would be willing to go on the mentoring programme in six months or a year or five years down the line.”
ABP also launched a company wide employee assistance programme (EAP) this week, however a second programme that is more tailored to women will also be rolled out, which will offer information on topics such as the menopause or family challenges.
In addition to this, free sanitary products will also be made available at all of the group’s locations and a review of the company’s internal protocols will be carried out to try and stamp out unconscious bias and exclusive language
Speaking at an MBW event yesterday, managing director of ABP Ireland and Poland Kevin Cahill, spoke about ABP She and said that despite the fact that more women are now engaged in higher paying industries, there is often still a struggle to get into the ‘boardroom suite’.
“Within our business, 23% of our entire workforce are female. Of that, about 18% of our management are female and about 14% of our supervisors are female, so we recognise we’ve got a bit of a gap there and it’s something we’re working hard on.”
“We want to work with our female colleagues not for them but with them. We want to promote autonomy and we want to hold ourselves accountable for all of our behaviour,” he concluded.
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