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Women of the Vine & Spirits Conducts a Gender Discrimination Survey

Deborah Brenner, founder and president of Women of the Vine & Spirits, announced that the trade organization is conducting a survey with Indiana University senior, Parker Dean, to learn why women are underrepresented in leadership positions in the industry.

Dean, who designed the survey for her honors thesis, has some background in the business. She spent last summer working as the digital marketing intern for Wine Warehouse in California, which is one of the largest U.S. distributors.

Brenner and Dean both recognize there’s insufficient research to discern whether women in the beverage alcohol industry are simply facing the same adversities as women in other businesses, or if the discrimination stems from reasons specifically related to the nature of the alcohol industry.

They are asking women to take the survey, which is “based on voluntary disclosure and all company information will remain confidential, unless requested otherwise,” according to the open letter.

“As women in business, we have been talking about these issues amongst ourselves for decades,” Brenner said in an email to Wine Enthusiast. “We know what the issues are, and we are done talking about it.

“We are compiling this data to share it with the industry and engage men as champions and advocates who recognize the value of our mission at Women of the Vine & Spirits,” she said, adding that the data would be compiled annually.

In comparison, British companies with 250 employees or more are required to reveal the gender pay gap between male and female employees by April. Diageo, whose brands include Johnnie Walker, Tanqueray and Bulleit, released their information back in November.

They found that between their two companies—one covering Scotland and one covering Great Britain—there was a median pay gap of 8.6%. That compared favorably with the median pay gap of 18.8% among other major British companies that reported early results to Britain’s Office of National Statistics.

Diageo has pledged to call on its ad agencies and content producers to include at least one female director on all creative bids for its commercial advertising, as it joined the Free the Bid organization.