Balance For Better was the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day.

This has special relevance for the Australian beef industry right now, with major projects underway to transform the red meat industry’s governance and strategy.

Because let’s face it.  Beef has a blokey image.  The cattle industry has a blokey image.

And as an industry, we’d be mad not to transform the hell out of that image.

The customer isn’t just king.  The customer is queen too.  We see this all around the world, where the typical consumer for our premium organic beef is a busy woman who is very conscious about what she is feeding her family and friends.

Women want to buy products they can relate to, so let’s start by telling the story of our family farms better, where women have long been acknowledged as equal partners in the family business.

And beyond the farm gate, let’s take gender diversity in our industry seriously. Really seriously.

Our industry has a handful of female leaders: Fiona Simson, Georgie Somerset, Anna Campbell, Margo Andrea and Anna Speer among them.  And yes, there are areas of the industry where the proportion of women is increasing.

But we can do better.  And if 50% of our talent pool is female, we can’t achieve our full potential as an industry until half our boards, managers and employees are female.

So let’s keep pushing.

Let’s keep challenging norms and barriers: what can we do to retain more women in this great industry so we keep their knowledge and help them grow into leadership positions.

And let’s make sure women are front of mind, inside and outside the industry, when we’re thinking about how to improve.  Because having real gender diversity is not just about balance, it’s fundamental to our future.

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