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WOTVS debuts 86 Harassment

Women of the Vine & Spirits (WOTVS) has launched an initiative to tackle sexual harassment in the drinks industry, which is backed by Pernod Ricard.

women in whisky
Nine in 10 women in hospitality have been sexually harassed on the job (credit: Jo Hanley, OurWhisky Foundation)

The 86 Harassment initiative has been in development since 2020 and will aim to address sexual harassment and gender-based violence in the alcohol sector and hospitality industry.

Described as the first industry-wide initiative, 86 Harassment seeks to reduce incident of harassment and violence.

WOTVS said statistics show that harassment is widespread in the alcohol and hospitality industries, with higher incidents in the workplace compared to other sectors.

Citing data from Restaurant Opportunities Center United, nine in 10 women in hospitality have been sexually harassed on the job, compared to three in 10 in the general workforce.

The scheme has received funding and support from Pernod Ricard North America, the Distilled Spirits Council of the US, Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of the America, and Republic National Distributing Company.

“This first-of-its-kind coordinated effort with industry association partners and corporate sponsors stems from our belief that every individual deserves a safe and respectful workplace free of sexual harassment,” said Deborah Brenner, founder and CEO, WOTVS and diverse powered brands.

“Thanks to Pernod Ricard North America, the corporate catalyst sponsor, 86 Harassment serves as an industry-wide resource to help guide companies and employees on the path to prevention.”

The initiative will offer several free resources including customised training conducted by Rainn, a confidential 24/7 hotline operated by Rainn, and a resource hub. Rainn is the largest anti‐sexual violence organisation in the US.

Kayla Campbell, vice-president, total talent, diversity and enterprise-wide development, Pernod Ricard North America, added: “Through our sponsorship of 86 Harassment, we are committed to driving meaningful change and promoting a culture of respect and dignity across our industry. We encourage others to join us in this critical movement.”

WOTVS is inviting organisations to join the initiative by providing financial support and participating in the 86 Harassment’s council.

A survey of more than 600 women in the global whisky industry has revealed that 70% have experienced sexual harassment while doing their job.

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