A new report has highlighted the extent of sexism in the whisky industry, with sexual harassment, stereotyping and the gender pay gap among concerns raised by women working in the sector.

Our Whisky Foundation’s Do You Even Like Whisky? survey features around 600 global responses from women working in events, operations, retail and office-based roles in whisky.

Some 87% of those surveyed said they felt women in whisky experience more challenges at work than their male colleagues. The most significant challenge, cited by 84% of participants, is unconscious bias, while 47% highlighted the gender pay gap. Meanwhile, more than one third (39%) said sexual harassment is a significant challenge.

The report found 81% of women working in whisky have been asked if they ‘actually like whisky’ while at work or while making a purchase. However, Our Whisky Foundation noted that the survey did not quantify men’s experiences.

Elsewhere, 89% of those surveyed agreed that consumers still widely perceive whisky to be a man’s drink, while 67% said this masculine reputation makes their jobs more challenging.

Our Whisky Foundation founder Becky Paskin said: “While the whisky industry appears to be taking steps towards inclusion and better representation, this survey clearly shows women feel they aren’t supported enough.

“It’s time the industry sits up and really listens to women’s voices. These instances of sexism and discrimination are very real for women working in whisky and cannot be ignored. The industry needs to take this issue extremely seriously.”

The Foundation has identified several focus areas to help businesses tackle sexism, including more representation of women in marketing, more training and company pay audits.

Image credit: Our Whisky Foundation/Jo Hanley