“It is time to do more than just talk about the struggles of working in wine and start providing a more positive mindset to create impact.” That’s the key reason why Queena Wong, founder of Curious Vines, has teamed up with C&C Group’s Proof Insight to put together what they claim is the first comprehensive survey to try and find out what life is like for women working in the wine industry. Here we talk to Wong about what she hopes the survey can achieve and how to take part.
The Women in Wine survey from Curious Vines and Proof Insight, hopes to to identify both the positives and negatives that women feel about working in the wine industry and set out ways in which conditions and opportunities could be improved.
Can you tell us why you have set this survey up and what you hope to achieve?
After setting up a community for connectivity then followed this with education and development support I felt it was time to start advocating progression on tackling issues for women working in the wine industry. There have been many things in common that has cropped up time and again in conversation. The survey idea was generated after discussions with senior wine industry friends, many who are men, about not knowing exactly what are the most pressing issues for women in the wine industry.
Progressive management are aware and would like to start tackling gender diversity and inclusion. I want to help them by obtaining this data to then make efforts on solutions to support female resource where they need it most. I believe that retaining women who already work in wine is the priority over recruiting more women only to lose them all over again.
The Curious Vines community and its reach is now at a size where we can obtain statistically sound results to find out how women feel about working in the wine industry. It is time to do more than just talk about the struggles of working in wine and start providing a more positive mindset to create impact.
How have you gone about putting the survey together?
Initially I reached out to women in Curious Vines who are part of insights teams and also talked out the idea with women I respect in the industry. Everyone provided “pointers” to how this could be done.
You are working with C&C’s Proof Insight – how have you come together and what skills and experiences are you sharing?
The collaboration was a result of many conversations I had trying to satisfy my need for a survey to be done with integrity – a legacy having worked in actuarial departments where statistics need to be valid. The potential industry impact of doing a survey like this is incredibly serious and I felt that constructing my own Survey Monkey wasn’t giving it the gravitas this survey should be given to be able to withstand criticism.
Proof Insight (part of C&C Group) has the expertise in survey construction and has the software to analyse the data once the survey closes. We have also been able to work with Lulie Halstead and her experience of industry wide research [through Wine Intelligence and IWSR] to ensure the questions we were asking would provide clear information from an industry perspective. Their combined expertise along with the Curious Vines community and its wider reach provides all we needed to create a sound survey.
How did you work out what questions to answer and which issues to cover and ask about?
I spoke to half a dozen women who have worked in a few areas in wine over their career and could draw upon their own real life experiences. They all helped provide the initial list of issues and many were indeed common between them.
Who do you hope will fill in the survey – do they need to be working in the professional drinks, retail, wine industry?
This survey is looking to support the UK wine industry in identifying the key issues for women who work with wine. As long as they work in wine then they should complete the survey – it will identify what area of the industry the respondent works in. Part of the insight may identify if there are issues more prevalent from one sub-sector to another. I am focussing on the UK as each market has different issues and it is important that the results can be used to further improvements to working frameworks.
Why did you want to make the survey anonymous?
The anonymity means that women can be honest about their experiences. There may be instances where it may be a boss, colleague or someone of influence in the industry where they feel they have not had equitable treatment and potentially fear it detrimental to their job or career progression if any names were revealed. The participant needs to be assured that their identity will not be given so they can be candid with their views.
What do you want to do with the results?
The results can be used to start discussions with key industry companies and bodies on how to address any reasonable challenges women face. It will provide an order of priority so they can be dealt with given resources for change will not be unlimited.
How will you share the findings?
Proof Insight will complete the analysis and we will jointly provide results once completed.
When is the survey open to?
The survey is open until August 16.
What would you say to anyone not sure about taking part?
If you are a woman working in the UK wine industry please complete the survey. It only takes six minutes. This is your chance to vocalise your experiences and support the efforts to make positive change to working environments to an industry we all love. To supportive men in wine, if you have read this then please encourage your female colleagues and friends in the industry to participate.