Today marks one hundred years since women won the right to vote, it’s an anniversary of sorts, a ‘look how far we’ve come’. I’m no feminist, but I recognise the importance of equality, of course I do, and we could never repay those women for what they did for us all those years ago.
But, the thing is, we are already so privileged in this country that I actually find it sickening that we’re even having conversations these days about whether it’s ‘ok’ to call a woman a Chairman, or whether we should be calling them something else. Whether it’s offensive to call people who save lives Firemen, or whether we should change it to Fire People. Of course equal pay is extremely important, but if it’s negotiable in the first place, ask for what you think you deserve and if that’s lower than your male counterpart’s negotiated amount, well then that’s your fault, isn’t it? It’s not always men either, a lot of women didn’t even support the movement to get the women’s vote! And wasn’t it women who said women shouldn’t be on page three, or work as grid girls or work as walk-on girls at the darts? What happened to letting women do what women want? It’s also women who hate seeing slim and athletic models in swimwear campaigns because ‘it portrays an unrealistic image of how women should look’. What do you want to see? The most common size of women in the UK is size 16, is that what we should aspire to be?
There are countries where women are treated worse than cattle, they have no voice and if they, for one minute, have a surge of defiance and try to speak, they are likely to be brutally beaten for it. In western Nepal, women are banished to an outhouse while they’re on their period. This practice is called ‘chhaupadi‘ and coveys the meaning that a woman is disgrace/unclean/disgusting while she is probably in a lot of pain from cramps. Naturally, this is a monthly occurrence and due to the extreme conditions of this area, women have even died while they’re shut away in the huts. And here we are, in the most privileged country on the planet, accusing people of not calling someone non-binary because they’re not sure if they’re male or female right now.
It’s not all fantasy land though, and help is at hand. The more you look into it, the happier you will become when you see the number of businesses doing their bit to make an impact on the huge gender politics elsewhere. A recent company that I came across, Sana Jardin, is the world’s first socially-conscious, luxury fragrance house. Not only do they make beautiful perfumes (which I have since bought after researching them) but they have created The Beyond Sustainability Movement too:
This all started in 2015 with The Orange Blossom Project. In Morocco, women harvesters are only given short-lived employment each year, they don’t have any other employment options, this is it. They are expected to harvest the rose, jasmine and orange blossom plants to provide the huge yield for perfumers. However, each year there are 900 tonnes of orange blossom going to waste. This is where Sana Jardin and their non-profit partner Nest saw an opportunity for these women. Instead of the orange blossom going to waste, they created three micro-enterprises with female farmers in the villages of Tiddas and Maaziz. It’s my understanding that these women received expert mentorship and training on product pricing, brand development and market analysis to ensure they launched a competitive product range.
This has enable the women to launch their own line of products from the floral waste. It includes; orange blossom water and orange blossom, jasmine and rose candles that they sell locally and nationally. They are the sole shareholders of the cooperative meaning they retain 100% of the proceeds from the products they sell under their brand name Annamaa.
The results speak for themselves; after just 6 months of operations, cooperative members have seen a massive 250% increase to their income and a huge improvement to their lives, #flowerpower.
Imagine the change that could happen if more companies took this approach to business…founder of Sana Jardin recently told Harper’s Bazaar, “I hope to demonstrate that luxury businesses can and should use their enormous power to bring as much humanity to their supply chain as they can and power social change.”
Rant over (for now) and so I’d like to talk about a wine I have recently tried thanks to my lovely sister Harry, which is 100% Albariño (alba-reen-yo) grape, one I hadn’t come across until recently.
I’m not quite sure whether I have dodged this wine quite as much as I believe I have, or whether I just haven’t noticed when I’ve been drinking it. I say this because it’s one of Spain’s most popular grapes, from the not-so-sunny side of Spain in the north-west. This thick-skinned grape thrives in the tricky conditions of this region, which made me wonder whether I could grow my own on the farm at home…in not-so-sunny Northamptonshire, perhaps not.
Deemed ‘The Seafood Lovers’ Wine’ by Wine Folly, I think this might just be my new favourite white. It’s quite high in acidity, but with such a sweet honeysuckle taste to it that it’s simply divine.
At £9.99 from Waitrose I thought this was exceptional value for such a drinkable wine. It’s very marine, fresh, sleek and complete. There’s a slight hint of vanilla and it’s very scented on the palate. For someone who loves fresh, fragrant notes, this is perfect. I should also note that the taste evolves with temperature, I like the intensity of the richer notes as it warms up but you may want to keep it cooler to retain more of the acidity if that’s what you prefer.