Recommended Reading: A Conversation On Gender Inequality in the Coffee Industry

Liz Dean, the Director of Retail here at Irving Farm, recently participated in a meaningful conversation about gender inequality and sexism in the coffee industry along with fellow coffee professionals Becky Reeves, Ashley Rodriguez, and Jesse Raub. The full transcript of their discussion can be found here, but some highlights include:

Why fewer women hold leadership & ownership positions than men

"Open applications for every position [would ensure more diversity in leadership roles]. I see so many men be 'promoted' for jobs that have never been advertised." -Ashley

"People select for specific leadership skills. Often, stereotypically masculine leadership skills." -Liz

"It’s easier for men to get the backing, the investors, and the loans to become an owner. I’ve seen my female and male friends try to open business and it seems easier for men to be approached to start a business, when women have to work hard to prove that they can own a business." -Becky

The idea that passion is a privilege

"I just hired an amazing woman who initially turned down a job with us because she had a kid to support and couldn’t leave a stable, salaried job to work an hourly one, even though she REALLY wanted to work for a serious coffee company. Whereas I’ve had like, two young, white dudes give up their lives to move to NYC and work for us. Because they could." -Liz

How men are often taken more seriously than women

"There’s an article [about how] women talking about diversity are taken less seriously because it’s 'expected' that’s what they’ll care about." -Ashley

"My advice isn’t valid until my male coworker is like 'Yup! She’s right.'” -Becky

"Yes, when I was a manager that would happen all the time. Customers would ask me a question, then go to my white male employee and ask him the same one, and THEN be satisfied when he agreed with me." -Liz

 

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