Women, Wine and Pay—Getting to the Bottom of the Issue

Why are women paid less than men? Are women in the wine industry paid less than men when they have similar positions and the same amount of experience?

Wine Women, an organization with the mission of helping promote the careers of women in wine, are embarking on an effort to look at these questions, beginning with a survey of women in the wine industry that looks at their pay.


I’m pretty sure I know what kind of information their findings will yield. That women are generally paid less than men shouldn’t be a surprise. But why is this?

Claudia Goldin, a Harvard economist who looks closely at issue of the pay gap between men and women suggests that the primary reason for the gap is women’s responsibilities outside of work, including caring or elderly family members and children. Goldin notes:

“Women aren’t choosing to make less. Instead, they’re buying the flexibility to handle responsibilities outside of work.”

What will be most interesting when looking at the results of the Wine Women survey is how large or small the gender pay gap is for different positions in the wine industry. Is the gap different for those working in management, winemaking, marketing?

There is one question not included in the survey that I think should be: “Do you have children under 18 living in the home”? Based on everything I’ve read, child rearing responsibility plays an important role in determining the level of pay a woman is likely to achieve.

In any case, this is an important survey and if you are a woman working in the wine industry, I urge you to take it.


Posted In: Wine Business


One Response

  1. Summer Whitford - April 21, 2017

    Dear Tom, I always enjoy your stories but this was one for the records. Thanks for writing about the disparity in the industry. As a woman, I have been underpaid even when I had more experience than the men who were my equals, have had jobs where I was paid the same amount as men I supervised who had little or no experience, and have been disregarded by men who assume because I am female I couldn’t possibly know about wine. Good to see that you “get” it.

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