The Advisory Board of the Australian Women in Wine Awards (AWIWA) is calling on men in the Australian wine community to join women in taking action to address the issue of gender diversity.

“Gender equality is not just a women’s issue, it’s an issue for the entire wine community,” says Jane Thomson, AWIWA founder and chair. “We need more men to be actively aware and involved if we’re ever going to see lasting change. And we think the AWIWA provides the perfect opportunity for the men in our community to step up and play their part.”

Several members of the board got together with a few key men in the industry for a photo shoot earlier this month where the boys wore pink boots as a way of showing their support and helping to raise awareness.

Corrina Wright, AWIWA board member & CEO of Oliver’s Taranga summed up the need for more men’s involvement succinctly; “It’s up to all of us. We need to stand together to make things better.”

But how can men be more active in supporting women in wine? “It shouldn’t be that hard,” said Daniel Wright, viticulturist and brewer at Swell Brewing Co. And he’s right, of course. It’s not.

  • At a business level, examine your recruitment and promotion systems, policies and procedures, maternity leave, working hours and flexibility and make the changes needed to attract and support women in the business
  • On a personal level, think about the language you use, the assumptions you make, and the personal biases you hold. Awareness is the key to change.
  • Speak out when you hear or see others doing the wrong thing. Call people to account over unacceptable comments, behaviours or decisions.
  • And don’t forget to nominate your female peers, colleagues and co-workers for one of the six award categories in the 2016 Australian Women in Wine Awards. Entries close 4 October.
  • Or if you’re doing great things already to promote gender equality then enter yourself for the Workplace Champion of Change Award – which is open to both women AND men AND businesses to enter.

The science shows that businesses where women hold top positions in equal numbers are more profitable. So taking such measures makes perfect business sense as well as common sense.

Sami Gilligan from Pallet & Barrel already recognizes the benefits of a gender diverse workforce. “I am a shareholder and manager of a number of wine industry businesses. We have a 50/50 mix of women and men on the boards, and for good reason. Women bring a different set of values and beliefs to the table that make our companies successful.”

Mike Brown, winemaker at Gemtree Wines concurs. “50% of the staff I employ are women. I am a huge supporter of the AWIWA initiative for many reasons, but none more important than seeing my wife Melissa’s challenges in being accepted in her career as a hard working viticulturist, full time Mum and everything else she fits in.”

Pink boots provided by SheWear

Bronze Sponsor of the 2016 Australian Women in Wine Awards

Photo Credit © Milton Wordley

Photo shows Mike Brown, Winemaker, Gemtree Wines; Rebekah Richardson, Winemaker; Daniel Wright, Viticulturist & Brewer, Swell Brewing Co; Corrina Wright, Winemaker & CEO, Oliver’s Taranga; Andre Bondar, Winemaker, Bondar Wines; Sami Gilligan, Viticulturist & Truckie, Pallet & Barrel; Ian Adam, Vigneron, Dabblebrook Wines.




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