Hiring the right brewer is. No matter the gender, hire the right brewer.
I get plenty of calls and emails from people who think they want to hire a female brewer; to, you know, get more women into brewing.
I’m always encouraged and simultaneously nauseous at this thought; that someone wants a female brewer as a token of gender parity. Here’s the crux of the issue.
- Women have always been involved in beer; the idea of a female brewer is not a new one.
- Women as brewers does not automatically exonerate an entire industry flagrantly negligent at proactively bringing more women up and into the industry.
- It’s got to start at a childhood level. Female children need to actively see and experience that the beer world can offer a worthwhile career, and not just to be a brewer.
- There’s a whole world of purpose in beer, for livelihood and recreation. We must include females and women of all ages in every single beer conversation to make gender equity progress.
Don’t be offended if I send you this link when you tell me you want to hire a female brewer, and can I make some recommendations. To this request, I’ll tell you:
- It’s about the qualified person, not the gender of the people who are qualified.
- Inclusion must be pushed and actively managed through every age and stage of human development. Think I’m overstating it? I don’t.
- Ask yourself: why do you think you want a female as a brewer? Do you also want a female as a ____? Or a male as a ____? Would you pick the wrong person in any role if you could help it? Do you look at other beer roles with the gender lens? If so, stop it. That does more damage than good. This isn’t about affirmative action – it’s about equity starting from birth.
Would you call an Asian person to ask for a recommendation for an Asian brewer? How about an Africa? Or a transgender? No, I’m not being flippant or disrespectful. I’m being real. To qualify only on gender is a mistake.
- There’s a very fat fine line to this entire idea: Yes, more women in beer would make it a MUCH better industry, hands down. And we must start at the beginning, not look for panaceas or bandages to slap over the sexism and problems the industry robustly has with gender inequity (if even supposedly inadvertently, though I don’t buy it).
- We can change the entire industry in a very short time span. We can fulfill a much more gender equitable bill of lading, have a more realistic population representation within 5 – 10 years with everyone speaking up, and bringing up qualified people of all makes and models. This includes cleaning house of poor current employees, no matter their orientation.
- Who said anything about gender having to do with talents, skills and potential?
So – if you ask me if I can recommend a few qualified females, would I help you find a female brewer – the answer is no. I’ll turn it around to ask you why a woman? Why in that position? And what have you done for the last – oh, say 20 years to promote gender parity overall?
Once you can reply to all of those, we can talk. Otherwise it’ll be empty, hollow and misguided (however ignorantly considered).
Everything is possible. More women in beer has gotta start with each and every one of us. And it doesn’t start with finding a female brewer.