The theme for International Women's Day 2021 is 'Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World’. Research by IWDA demonstrates that women still face significant cultural, socio-economic and political barriers to accessing leadership. As with any industry these challenges are faced by women in tea.
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 to support the industry have inherent barriers for women can feel somewhat impossible.
But I feel very fortunate to see many female leaders emerging in all facets of tea. 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 support the growth of women leadership in tea as a consumer? Here are my top 10 tips.
10 ways consumers can support women in tea
- 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.
- 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.
- Make enquiries with kindness and patience. Whilst women led tea businesses strive to provide great customer service, have some empathy that the person you are likely speaking to may have additional responsibilities and commitments (e.g,, family).
- Advocate for the female-led tea businesses you love. Share details with family and friends about your tea discoveries.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- Offer a testimonial. If you loved it write a testimonial without being prompted. Better still create a video testimonial it will make her week!
- 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.
- 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.
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