Friday, March 9, 2018

Women in Tea

The more I read and hear of women’s suppression the more I think of all the beautiful women that do their part to bring us a good cup of tea. Many warm thoughts have been sent there way in this “me too” era of transparency. Wondering why it is that the women are sent to the field to pick the tea or to make the tea for a tasting, but not held in regard to take on the role of the farmer or processing the tea. When I traveled to Taiwan in 2011 our small group visited several tea farms where it was the farmer that received the recognition, but the wife was making the food, serving the tea, and making sure everything went as it needed to be. Farmer Chen’s wife, we were told, stays up at night when the tea is being processed just to make sure her husband doesn’t fall asleep. The grandmother, at a farm in the Alishan Mountains, would cook the meals and carry the grandbaby on her back as she made tea for us while the son-in-law and husband were off doing the men’s work. Yet when I stepped out into the tea field and watched the women picking the tea, it was serene and the sound of the voices was like music to my ears.

Women arriving for a day of plucking the tea in Taiwan.

I have been told the women pluck and pick because of the dexterity of their fingers; but I think those same beautiful women could certainly plant and process the tea and run their own businesses. Recently a farmer, Rajen Baruah, in Assam, India shared a picture on Facebook of a small group of women he is beginning to train to be their own independent farmers.  I am thrilled to see this happening even if it is only one small step. Dreaming of a world where women all around the world can work equally with the men of tea.  Together we will all thrive.
Farmer Chen and his wife showing how to cut the tea in the field.

Grandma serving the tea in Alishan, Taiwan

In many places around the world I have found beautiful women making our tea world a better place.  They have been educating us, supporting small farmers, serving us tea, and plucking the tea that we drink. Jane Pettigrew’s Design for Tea is educating us. Elyse Peterson at supports small farmers throughout the world promoting their tea.  Jeni Dodd is promoting tea from Nepal.  Babette Donaldson has written the Emma Lea books for children and recently shared videos on Sip for Peace of stories of tea around the world. Shuiwen at Floating Leaves came from Taiwan to start a tea shop in Seattle and buys from small farmers in Taiwan. Lindsey Goodwin of The Tea Mavens is supporting and educating. There are many women who put their creative tea dreams into reality by opening tearooms and teashops, women that share their tea knowledge on a blog such as this one, or women that work as support staff in tea businesses around the world. Women in tea is growing and shining.
Diana serving the tea at Babington Tearoom in Rome, Italy.

To the women who share tea with us, 
that pluck the tea and serve the tea,
 I thank you!

I hope your International Women's Day yesterday was a very special day.
Have a great weekend, dear friends!
Keep on sipping tea!


wisps of words said...

A lovely post....

Jeanie said...

This is fascinating. I never really thought about how women were so instrumental in the tea business but didn't really have any say or power. Thank goodness for this one man who is making a start. Perhaps he will be a new leader of a new movement.