No matter where you are in the world, in what industry you work in and which position you hold (although implications may vary), women in business face gender based challenges.
As a female entrepreneur I have been in situations whereby I am not taken seriously and I have to prove my worth and skills continuously. I can say with certainty it is because I am not considered the traditional entrepreneurial type.
Women in business specifically in the tea industry are stereotyped as good quality tea pluckers while men are the ones who are excellent in supervision and management as they are born leaders. Yes – this also comes with a higher pay grade!
Although there have been changes over the years and women in business make significant strides – look at our tea estate partner Doke, that is partly female owned too 🙂 – we still need to keep pushing the boundaries. Beleaf & Co does this by trading directly with farms that are open to discuss and commit to gender equality.
A major shift is necessary. Both in our values and beliefs as well as on paper. It is vital that we all have equal opportunities – In case you were wondering this includes equal pay – , something that should be included in companies’ policies. And to be clear, this does not only apply to gender equality.
We should know by now (wake up, it is 2018!) that a diverse and inclusive work environment is beneficial for companies’ profits too. Working with a team of people with various backgrounds, life perspectives and different approaches leads to creative collaboration and innovation. ‘If I would like to spar my ideas, I’d rather do that in a diverse team of people having other ideas resulting in better solutions. This way I get challenged in my own doing and thinking’. For the people in leadership positions who rather stay comfortable by giving opportunities to like-minded people is not open for change at all. Fostering diversity and empowering women business to take on positions of leadership can accelerate your business. It may be scary, but just try it! You may get amazing results.
Change is inevitable, also in the workforce, the question is if you would like to drive it or resist it. Nishanthi and I choose to drive it, intrinsically, from inward – out. It is a start and we are excited to see where this journey takes us. I hope you will join us too!