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How you can make a difference to the lives of women in tea?

By Kym Cooper. Posted
Mr Meowgi and black tea

The theme for International Women's Day 2022 is 'Break the Bias’. The quote below comes from the IWD website.

Imagine a gender equal world.

A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.

A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

A world where difference is valued and celebrated.

Together we can forge women's equality.

Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.

As a micro business in the tea ecosystem I may not command buying power or have the impact of the bigger tea businesses but I choose to make a difference and empower women with every decision I make with The Steepery Tea Co. Whether it is the tea grower I source from or the venue I host my events. 

I deliberately work with other female-led businesses wherever I can. Trying to operate a business is hard enough. Yet trying to operate and grow a business in an environment where the systems that are built maintain bias and inequality for women is challenging. This is not the world I wish for my daughter so it starts with me to forge a different path for her. 

There are so many intelligent, talented and inspirational role models emerging in the tea industry. And it makes me excited to think about the possibilities for tea with more women participating in the ecosystem. 

So what can you do this International Women's Day to #breakthebias and support women in tea as a consumer? Here are my top 10 tips. 

10 ways consumers can support women in tea

  1. Buy from women. Find a female-led tea business near you and buy their tea. Of course, only if the quality is equal to or better than what you would normally buy.
  2. Slow down your tea shopping. Enjoy the discovery process of finding new women-led tea businesses to support. We don't always carry the big budgets to be paying for advertising or have our websites optimised.
  3. Make enquiries with kindness and patience. Whilst women led tea businesses strive to provide great customer service, approach with empathy that the person you are likely speaking to may have additional responsibilities and commitments (e.g,, family). 
  4. Advocate for the female-led tea businesses you love. Share details with family and friends about your tea discoveries and the owners that front the business.
  5. Write reviews about women-led tea businesses. If you loved it, have the resolve to write a review wherever you feel comfortable google, facebook, websites and local community groups. It all helps.
  6. Get TEA-curious about the tea supply chain. Find tea suppliers that source from women-led and family tea gardens. Any good tea supplier can tell you where their tea has come from particularly if their marketing suggests they are transparent and close to the source. Ask the questions and if you receive evasive answers move on.
  7. Don't be shy with opening your own networks up. If you have found a gem of a female-led tea business and you know of a connection that both parties may find mutually beneficial make an introduction happen! 
  8. Offer a testimonial. If you loved it write a testimonial without being prompted. Better still create a video testimonial it will make her week!  
  9. Connect as humans. With most female fronted ventures in tea we are small, likely just an owner behind the entire operation. We are all after authentic connections these days what is nicer from knowing exactly who it is you are buying or receiving a service from. 
  10. Women leaders in tea. Support the businesses and organisations that have brilliant females at the helm. Giving them the financial independence and confidence in the job they are doing allows them to grow and flourish on their missions to support more females within their networks. 

This image was taken by Jasmine - I will be forever grateful because it is one of my favourites. 

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