International Women’s Day: Our shared responsibility to the women of the tea industry
Happy International Women’s Day!
As a female founded and led company, we relish the opportunity of IWD to pause for a moment and celebrate our own achievements. eteaket was founded in 2008 when Erica Moore, had a moment of clarity and realised she wanted to do something more fulfilling with her life. It was founded on a belief that we were all born to chase our dreams and find our passion.
It is in that passion we base our mission to empower tea drinkers to free their mind so that they can thrive because of daily ‘Teany Rituals’. Under Erica’s leadership and an amazing team which features many women past and present in leadership roles, we have built eteaket up to the strong business it is today. Despite the challenges the past year has brought, our company has weathered the storm well and we are so excited about the future as we continue to innovate and challenge, not only as a business but as a company with strong values at its core.
We are crucially aware our own successes’ are shared collaborations with the experts, tea masters and the heritage of tea growing around the world. The tea industry heavily relies on female labour; in many countries the majority of the agricultural workforce is women. They are largely responsible for the labour-intensive work of harvesting; handpicking tea leaves and maintaining tea estates. Despite making up the majority of the workforce, they are vastly underrepresented in leadership roles.
Much of the world’s tea is grown and produced in countries that face a complex multitude of issues and harsh realities. Many tea growing regions across the world face considerable challenges, such as poverty and great wealth inequality, which exacerbate issues specifically felt by women in those regions. You can read all about the challenges faced by women of the tea industry here
The journey setting up eteaket took Erica around the world to tea gardens in China, India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Japan. Along the way she witnessed first-hand the need for a more sustainable tea industry for tea workers, farmers and the environment.. We want to do everything possible to ensure tea communities get a fair deal and access to opportunities, which is why we are proud members of the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP).
As a member of ETP, we are committed to tea sustainability and all of our black and green teas carry the ETP logo. When we joined ETP, we made a commitment to only buy tea from certified merchants and suppliers, who are audited to international standards that cover social and environmental issues – namely Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and/or UTZ accreditation.
ETP’s priority is to work on long-term programmes to tackle the deep-rooted issues and some of the most complex challenges that tea workers and communities are facing. While most of their initiatives cut across many themes, their key priorities are Changing lives, Better incomes, Empowering women and Climate & environment.
ETP runs a number of programmes with a gender focus, working to empower women to make strategic and informed life choices and use their knowledge and skills to challenge the barriers they face. You can read more about some of their initiatives here.
The theme of his year’s IWD is Choose to Challenge:
A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day.
We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.
From challenge comes change comes change, so let’s all choose to challenge.
At eteaket we Choose to Challenge. We choose to challenge as it is in the make-up of our company; we buck the UK trend of only 1 in 3 entrepreneurs being women and we challenge the trend of women missing from board rooms.
We choose to challenge worldwide systemic inequality by making sure our support is only ever channelled where women are treated fairly. We remain committed to improving and enriching the lives of women worldwide whose success and empowerment is our own success.
Join us in Choosing to Challenge by posting your hand raised high photo and committing to challenge inequality wherever you can.