Women’s industry group launches into Scotland

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Crucial issues affecting women in the food industry were examined in Edinburgh this week by a panel of leading females in hospitality ahead of International Women’s Day.

The inaugural Scottish Women in the Food Industry event, held at The Edinburgh New Town Cookery School on Monday, March 4, included a networking session and panel discussion which focused on topics such as the gender pay gap, opportunities and challenges and barriers to career progression.

While the event, hosted by the London-based Women in the Food Industry, was free-to-attend, attendees were given the option to donate to Smartworks Edinburgh, which provides styling advice, high-quality interview clothes and interview training to women looking for work.

The discussion, which was chaired by Fiona Richmond, head of regional food at Scotland Food & Drink, included panellists such as Fiona Burrell, principal of the cookery school, chef patron of Glasgow restaurant Julie’s Kopitiam, Julie Swee Lin, and food writer Sumayya Usmani.

Richmond said the debate was a “welcome opportunity to honour and celebrate the role of women across food, drink and tourism”.

She added: “From producers and farmers to chefs, restaurateurs, educators and more, Scotland is bursting with talented woman, all dedicated to driving the ongoing success of industries, which are so vital to the country’s culture, economy and reputation.”

Chef Swee Lin said: “We work every day in order to combat machoism within kitchens and squash the acceptance of daily sexism in the industry.”