SAGE Launches New Campaign Focused on Women in Processing

Portland, OR. – A World Bank survey (World Bank, 2010) suggests that 85.5% of fish processing workers worldwide are women, however, there is little information on the contributions women make to the industry overall and they are rarely represented in media and communications about the sector.

SAGE is launching a new campaign, #SeafoodSmize, today and ending on Giving Tuesday, December 1, to illuminate the millions of women behind the fish and seafood we consume – women who occupy the frontline and essential roles of processing and packing our seafood.

SAGE’s founder Julie Kuchepatov says, “I wanted to think of something fun that we all can do to bring these women out of the shadows. In our industry, we visit processing facilities a lot and, if you’re like me and my colleagues, the phones come out and we’re taking selfies the minute we put on a hairnet, mask, uniform, and rubber boots. ‘Smize’ means ‘smiling with your eyes’ and I think by sharing these photos, and poking fun at ourselves at the same time, we can draw positive attention to the women behind our seafood.”

Throughout the duration of the campaign, SAGE will post on its social media channels photos from processing facilities shared by industry colleagues. While illuminating the hidden women in seafood processing is a key goal, this campaign also aims to promote the importance of mask wearing during the global pandemic. 

Jennifer Kemmerly, Vice President, Global Ocean Initiatives at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, says, “We are acutely aware of the importance of mask wearing during the Covid-19 pandemic. We have seen the struggle to equip essential and frontline workers in seafood processing with even the basic Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), such as masks. I support any campaign that brings to the forefront the extreme conditions people work in to bring seafood to our shelves, as well as promotes mask wearing to protect ourselves, our families, and each other.”

“The beautiful thing about this campaign,” Julie continues, “is that everyone can participate. If you don’t have any selfies in a processing plant, share a photo of yourself in a mask, use the hashtag #SeafoodSmize, and don’t forget to tag @seafood_and_gender_equality.”

The #SeafoodSmize campaign also serves as a fundraiser for SAGE and culminates December 1st to coincide with Giving Tuesday, a global effort that “unleashes the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and their world.” Tax-deductible donations will help SAGE continue in its burgeoning effort to build a more inclusive, diverse, and equal seafood industry. Follow the link to donate:  

About SAGE

SAGE is an initiative to address the critical lack of gender equality in global seafood production. SAGE’s mission is to build a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive seafood industry and sustainable seafood movement. To achieve the mission, SAGE uplifts and amplifies the diverse voices of women in global seafood production through education and communication; assesses and addresses systemic barriers in the seafood industry and creates pathways to integrate emerging women leaders; and builds the capacity of a diverse female workforce in the global seafood industry through support of women working in the sector. To learn more, visit SAGE’s website – and follow SAGE on social media channels: @sdg5forseafood on Twitter and @seafoodandgenderequality on Linkedin, Facebook, and Instagram.

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