Pink shirts on. Boots pulled up. Haired pulled back. Malt poured in. Picture taken. This is how many women in the beer industry started a March Saturday morning. Myself included.
Saturday, March 8th was International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day. A day sponsored by the Pink Boots Society to encourage collaboration and camaraderie amongst women in honor of International Women’s Day, which is also March 8th. Taking the time to celebrate this day with fellow females is fun and dandy, but I wonder what affect these days have on the bigger issue at hand, women’s equality.
There is no doubt that having national days like this are incredibly important for all women. They create opportunities for women who feel unconnected to become connected. It seems, however, like many people get involved for that day/month, pat themselves on the back and wear their t-shirts, and then return to their normal lives.
I will without doubt admit that I am guilty of letting these “International Days” float by me with nothing more than a tweet or a post. Not often do I fully dive into the issue behind an “International” anything. I can be so good at letting things not affect me, that it scares me how many more people share this disheartening talent. So it is not whether these days are good or bad, but the concept of longevity, or the lack of, that I struggle with. How can we use these days to inspire daily respect for all people? To celebrate accomplishments and camaraderie on a daily basis, not just on one day.
Last week, I opened up the local news and one of the headlines read, “Local Women Brings Hot Topic Issue to Community Council.” Why was woman in the title? As if it is totally strange that a woman would dare bring up an issue to her local government? Since I am me and no one else, I can only speak for myself. And I personally want my accomplishments praised for the accomplishment itself, not the fact that I happen to be a woman who accomplished it. Yes I am a women; however, I also am a human being and want to be judged as a human being not just as a women, every day of the year.
So now I come back to Saturday’s celebration of International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day. The day in itself was very positive. I met women who also work for Short’s for the first time, and I loved the fact that one of our male brewers was more excited about brewing with us than we were! As we continue adding “human group recognition days” to the calendar, I hope more people use these days to inspire grassroots movements that spark conversation, collaboration, camaraderie, and most importantly action within communities. It is going to take a lot more effort than just posing for a picture by a brew kettle, to create change.
In the craft beer industry, The Pink Boots Society is a wonderful example of encouraging discussion and community amongst women around the country on a more regular basis. Regular events hosted by this organization bring women together to create a daily network. If more people become involved in organizations that have a philosophy like the Pink Boots Society, or even grab a beer with friends at the local bar to discuss social issues, there will be more forward progress than if women didn’t.
I also believe, however, that the only way women will rise to true equality is if men and women alike participate in this discussion. It is wonderful to have a network of people who share similar characteristics to yourself, but if your goal is to make change then there needs to be a focus on mutual support from both parties. If this mutual support does not grow and develop, then the progress will be minimal.
So use these days as a benchmark to think back on the year that passed and reflect on your actions as a person. Did you celebrate and respect the people you share this world with on a continuous basis? Or did you wait until your calendar told you to do so?
Interesting Views on International Women’s Day: