Jane Thomson, founder of The Fabulous Ladies’ Wine Society, has slammed the lack of women involved in an industry summit of CEOs and managing directors to discuss the challenges facing the wine sector.
The meeting was hosted by Wine Australia earlier this month.
The group released a statement today signed by 16 members of the group, only one of whom is female – Brigid Nolan of The Wine Group.
“So a bunch of middle-aged, cisgender white guys have once again formed a committee to determine the future of the Australian wine industry,” Jane says in a statement to WBM.
“Out of the 16 ‘wine bosses’ who met at the invitation of Wine Australia (I believe it may actually have been 20? But only 16 signed the statement), only one was a woman.
“And yet again, the issue of diversity and equality is nowhere to be seen on their agenda.
“How on earth is this still happening?
“It’s actually an embarrassment.
“Worse still, this as yet unnamed and unjustified committee (do we even need it? We have national, state and regional bodies already) of ‘bosses’ believes we have already achieved a ‘…diverse and talented sector‘.
“Diverse? How can they be this wilfully ignorant?
“And did they not even realise how ridiculous that would sound coming from a group of this makeup?
“Wine Australia has budgeted zero dollars to tackle the issue of diversity in 2023.
“But somehow it can still find the money to create new committees of powerful men to help determine our future.
“This needs to change.”
In response to the criticism, Wine Australia CEO Martin Cole says, “At Wine Australia, we engage the Australian grape and wine community broadly and in a number of ways to inform our priorities and ensure grapegrowers, winemakers and exporters are getting benefit from the levies they pay.
“The CEO Group is just one of many diverse groups that Wine Australia is consulting with in support of the development of a ‘One Sector Plan’ with Australian Grape & Wine.
“These consultations include representative industry bodies, state and regional associations, government, grower groups and individual levy payers.”
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