Brewing success

Date: January 1, 1970
  • SHARE:

This article is the story of Sindiswa Teyisi of Grahamstown’s Makana Meadery. In two years she has worked her way up from a job in office administration to her current position as Makana Meadery’s Operations Manager.

This article may be used to:
1. Showcase best practices in gender and economic reporting.
2. Illustrate the point that media is slowly changing its attitude towards women in ‘male’ viewed fields.
3. Show the paradigm shift in gender and economic reporting with women now being reported on more and being given a voice in media.
4. Show that women are moving out of the private domain and a making a name for themselves in the business world.
Trainer’s notes
This story showcases Sindiswa Teyisi’s achievements in working her way up from an office manager to Operations Manager for Makana Meadery.  Very often the media shows women in caring or nurturing roles, or in occupations that are considered ‘soft’, such as hairdressing or fashion. In this case, the article shows a woman who has clearly excelled in a job that is normally dominated by men. It shows that women are making a name for themselves and commanding respect within these types of jobs.
This article however does not lose sight of the many challenges that women face in the business world. They often have to work harder to prove they are capable. Teyisi herself mentions the challenges is earning the respect of the other men in the company, and the shock people feel when they see her do ‘dirty work’ like climbing trees or working with the bees. She points out there are people still trying to come to terms with her role at Makana Meadery.  Despite these challenges, Teyisi is well-respected within the company, and that in itself shows that the boundaries between what is thought to be appropriate work for men and women are blurring and shifting.
Although Makana Meadery is the brainchild of one of its directors Garth Cambray, he is only briefly mentioned so as not to distract attention from the focus of the story, Teyisi. This article seeks comment from one of the Meadery’s Directors, a biotechnologist who affirms that ‘whatever Sindiswa puts her hand to, improves.’ This affirms that she is respected and appreciated, and that she is very good at what she does. It discredits the assumption that women do not have the strength, drive or intelligence to be leaders in business.
Discussion Questions
1. List the roles that women and men are commonly portrayed in media. What does this say about gender and economic reporting?
2. What does this article say about relations between women and men around the workplace?
3. Is the sourcing in the story adequate?
4. What do you feel should have been included in the story?
5. Many people assume that women are somehow not as intelligent as men, or do not have the capabilities to lead or manage. What socio-economic trends contribute to this assumption? (ex. Women have fewer opportunities for higher education, illiteracy is higher among women than men) 
Training Exercises
1. A lot of people assume that stereotypically female jobs are not as challenging as stereotypically male jobs, and that women somehow have things easier than men. Make a list of tasks involved in an average workday in a high level ‘male’ profession and in a high level ‘female’ profession. Include things like hours of work and unpaid labour such as childcare, food preparation and housework. Is ‘women’s work’ any less challenging? Based on the tasks each profession involves, are women any less capable of working within the traditional ‘male’ arena? What makes people think that they are less capable? What types of tasks do these assumptions ignore?
2. Interview a local businesswoman or female community leader. Find out how people reacted to her when she first entered into the job, what she had to do to gain the respect of the community or workplace, and how people view her now. What would she say to other women who want to become leaders, or go into non-traditional professions? Find out from some of the men in her workplace or community how they view her position. 
Links to other training resources

Download : brewing success (2)

Comment on Brewing success

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *