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1st June 2021

Campaign: ‘Let’s Stand United Against Harassment’

As the beer industry is rocked by a new outpouring of allegations relating to discrimination, harassment and abuse in beer, Women On Tap gears up to launch its fifth festival and deliver a very clear message: ‘we stand with you, united against harassment’.

One of the first sessions to open the fifth annual festival on Wednesday 9th June is ‘United Against Harassment’ and will be delivered in collaboration with international youth-led movement, Chalk Back.

A frank virtual discussion and plan of activism, a hard-hitting social media campaign, and a live chalking event will be delivered as part of the 2021 Women On Tap Festival. The virtual event will be led by Sophie Sandberg – founder of CatcallsofNYC and Chalk Back – and Farah Benis – founder of CatcallsofLDN and part of the Chalk Back leadership team – alongside representatives from Women On Tap CIC.

The free event will be a panel-hosted interactive discussion that looks at:

– Harassment: what it is and its impact.

– Some results from a sexual harassment in hospitality survey undertaken by Nichola Bottomley (WOT) in 2019 and her follow up from 2021 – a look at if/ how things have changed, and why.

– Reflections on the recent events following Brienne Allan, production manager at Notch Brewing in Salem asking ‘What sexist comments have you experienced?” and the subsequent experiences shared with Siobhan Buchanan in the UK.

– The industry and its responsibility to make workplaces and venues safer.

– Accountability and actions that can be taken.

Participants will have the opportunity as part of the session to share their own experiences (write down on a piece of paper and hold up).

Participants will also be invited to send in questions beforehand / during of things they’d like to address on the topic so we can aim to answer those in the last part of the session.

Acknowledging and taking action against harassment will underpin the full festival. A ‘5 Days Of Action’ social media campaign will be launched following this session and 3-days of live chalking events will take place at bars across Harrogate where people will have the chance to book a slot to have a drink, chat to our team about harassment, and chalk their own experiences on our board.

Women On Tap founder Rachel Auty originally approached Chalk Back with the collaboration idea in April: “At Women On Tap we’ve done a number of things on harassment previously, and it’s important to me to use the festival to tackle these serious matters. Change won’t happen overnight so we keep going. Right now we need to look at how we take the experiences shared and use this reestablished awareness to turn it into action and make sure we aren’t standing still in our efforts. We need to all look at how we can do better and hold each other to account in the interests of the people and this industry we love.”

It’s not the first time Women On Tap has tackled the issue of harassment head on.

In 2019 a personal experience led to Women On Tap’s own beer guru, Nichola Bottomley, creating an online survey on sexual harassment in order to understand the wider issue better.

648 completed the online survey and from the responses some key takeaways were:

  • Over 80% of respondents said yes they had witnessed sexual harassment while working in a pub or bar

  • Over 80% of women said yes, they had experienced sexual harassment whilst working in a pub/ bar (Over 30% of men said they had too)

  • 50% of respondents said they had never reported sexual harassment they witnessed to pub or bar staff

  • Only 30% of women said they felt very comfortable going to a pub or bar by themselves (Compared with almost 80% of men)

This month we have seen an outpouring of sexual harassment experiences from across the globe on social media as Brienne Allan, production manager at Notch Brewing in Salem asked ‘What sexist comments have you experienced?”. The responses are pinned as highlights on her Instagram profile @ratmagnet. Siobhan Buchanan (@britishbeergirl) picked up the baton in the UK and a number of high profile UK breweries were cited.

We all should be worried about the extent of continued inequality, now more than ever. 2020 has hit women especially hard and has set back progress made.


In the Global Gender Gap Report 2020, the World Economic Forum predicted that at the current rate of change it would take 99 years for there to be social and economic gender parity.

The events of 2020 have been a further setback in equality progress. According to the 2020 Women in the Workplace study by McKinsey & Company, women — especially women of colour — are more likely to have been laid off or furloughed as a result of Covid-19. What’s more, vital support systems such as school and childcare have been upended, and as a result more than 1 in 4 women are now said to be considering downshifting careers or leaving the workforce completely. In addition, a new report from the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London shows women have been marginalised in Covid-19 media coverage in almost every subject, with the exception of traditionally female issues including childcare, domestic violence, and education.

We cannot stop raising awareness of the ongoing issues we face daily, and we must all come together as a united voice to say NO MORE and take action towards real and lasting change.


Founded in New York, starting as CatcallsofNYC, Chalk Back is an international youth-led movement committed to ending gender-based street harassment with public chalk art, digital media and education.

Through location-specific ‘@catcallsof’ accounts set up within cities and education campuses across the globe, Chalk Back is leading a movement of more than 150 activists fighting for equal access to public space.

The goal is to give people a place to share their stories of harassment, use it to raise public awareness, and ultimately denormalise catcalling.

Chalk Back is primarily youth-led with 88% of participants under the age of 25 and 54% under the age of 18.

Chalk Back activities now span 6 continents, 49 countries, and 150 cities.

Free tickets to the event are available at

You can complete Nichola’s follow up survey on harassment at

See @chalkbackorg @catcallsofldn @catcallsofnyc on Instagram

The full Women On Tap Festival programme is available at

Press release from Women On Tap Festival