Recently, a woman was “retrenched” from her longstanding role as a winemaker for a highly reputable business shortly after she announced she was pregnant. To her face, they said they would look for fresh talent. Behind closed doors they panicked at the thought of a second maternity leave. Similarly, a talented and well-known winemaker became pregnant and was immediately dropped from her position as contract winemaker for a large wine corporation. They offered her a role in sales. They couldn’t see how she could make wine and have children at the same time. If you add to this the dozens of women in their late 20s who get asked point blank in interviews whether they plan on having children and are consequently rejected if they say ‘yes’ then it’s clear there is a very real issue of sexism in the wine industry and it’s time for that to change. Emilie Reynolds reports.
JANE THOMPSON, founder of the Fabulous’ Ladies Wine Society, initially thought up the idea of having an event dedicated to women in wine because numbers were dwindling and support was lacking in the Australian wine industry.
The latest figures from Wine Australia show that the number of people employed in the wine sector is roughly 53,500. Women represent between eight and 10 per cent, which means there are barely more than 5000 women employed in the Australian wine industry – a number which is generally acknowledged to be in decline.
Thompson launched the Australian Women in Wine awards to acknowledge the work of women in the industry and recognise industry leaders who champion equality and fairness in the workplace. Continue reading