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What are the Challenges Faced by Women Bartenders in India?

Pankaj Balachandran, India Brand Ambassador for Monkey Shoulder, says there was a taboo that women can't work in bars, but it has completely changed now

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Safety matters a lot, especially for women. Bartending is a long hours shift job. It looks easy from the surface level, but there are a lot of complications. Wikimedia Commons

Arati Mestry, 29, was one proud woman competing against 19 men in the finals of a bartending championship — an example of how women are slowly, but steadily making their way into the male-dominated space in India. Mestry, who competed at the Ultimate Bartender Championship, says the industry has evolved over the years, opening the doors for women in the profession.

“My experience as a bartender has been very progressive. I love playing with cocktails and love to serve it in different ways to my guests. I never felt that this is the so called ‘men’s game’. I work at a place where I get equal opportunities as male bartenders,” Mestry told IANS.

Skills help. “I feel nobody can discriminate you if you have skills. In today’s time, skills matter the most. If you are good at your job, people will definitely appreciate you, irrespective of your gender,” said Mestry, who works at a bar in Bengaluru, and has been a part of the industry since the last six years.

Ami Behram Shroff and Shatbhi Basu are two names which come up almost everytime women bartenders are spoken of in the industry in India. Pankaj Balachandran, India Brand Ambassador for Monkey Shoulder, says there was a taboo that women can’t work in bars, but it has completely changed now.

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Four years ago, women in the bartending profession were only a handful, but now the number has increased,” Balachandran said. Wikimedia Commons

“An increasing number of women are getting into the hospitality industry. There are bars which have really good ladies bartenders. Four years ago, women in the bartending profession were only a handful, but now the number has increased,” Balachandran said.

However, there are factors that hamper their visibility in the industry. Safety is one prime reason. According to Arijit Bose, who has been in the food and beverage industry for more than 10 years, hiring a woman as a bartender involves a lot of responsibility, and due to lack of facilities, standalone bars still resist working with females.

He recounted how the Jessica Lal murder case in 1999 in Delhi had sparked a debate regarding the safety of women bartenders in India. “Safety matters a lot, especially for women. Bartending is a long hours shift job. It looks easy from the surface level, but there are a lot of complications.

“Employers hesitate to hire women because it becomes their duty to ensure proper safety for them. But no one can guarantee anyone’s safety, right? And one mistake can shut down your whole bar. So that’s why people still prefer to work with male bartenders.”

women bartender
Pankaj Balachandran, India Brand Ambassador for Monkey Shoulder, says there was a taboo that women can’t work in bars, but it has completely changed now. Pixabay

Alisha, a Mumbai-based bartender who also competed at the Ultimate Bartender Championship, but couldn’t make it to the top 20, said safety has never been a problem for her.

“I know there are places which do not hire women bartenders but people who do hire them, ensure proper safety. At my workplace, there is a separate locker and toilet facility for women. Proper cab facility is also provided to female employees. Women’s safety is a top priority at my workplace,” she said.

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Alisha said she was also lucky to get her family’s support in her decision of following her passion for bartending — unlike most people whose parents consider the profession “non-serious”.

“There are many perceptions regarding our profession. People generally think we just know how to serve alcohol. But there is a lot more beyond it. From interacting with customers to maintaining proper cleanliness to making new types of drinks, a bartender has to do multiple tasks. It’s not easy to be a bartender. Our profession looks quite glamorous but it is also a serious job. “Things have changed, but there should be more changes. I hope in the coming years, I see more girls coming in.” (IANS)

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South Korean Tech Giant Samsung to Spur Innovation as Biz Challenges Rise

Samsung said earlier this week it will announce the updated schedule “in the coming weeks”, without elaborating

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To get ahead in the fast-changing tech industry, Samsung said it will expand investment in burgeoning tech segments to propel growth. Wikimedia Commons

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong has called for senior executives to spur efforts to develop innovative technologies to tackle rising business challenges and foster new growth drivers, the company has said.

Lee, the de facto leader of the South Korean tech giant, held a meeting with senior executives of the IT and mobile division at the Suwon headquarters, south of Seoul, on Friday to discuss global strategies.

The global strategy meeting, which is held twice a year, has drawn keen attention as Samsung is faced with business challenges from the weak memory chip and handset business and uncertainties from a trade war between the US and China, Yonhap new agency reported on Sunday.

During the meeting, Lee called for the company officials to spur efforts to develop new technologies, including the 6G mobile network, blockchain and Artificial Intelligence and to expand global partnerships.

“We have to make bold investments for the future regardless of any changes in the business environment,” Lee was quoted as saying in a press release.

“No company can guarantee they will be around 10 years from now,” Lee said. “We have to have a mindset of starting new businesses, beyond resting on what we’ve achieved so far.”

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The new Samsung S10 phones are displayed Feb. 20, 2019, in San Francisco. Samsung is hailing the 10th anniversary of its first smartphone with three new models that it hopes reverses a sales slump in an industry recycling the same ideas. VOA

His meeting with the handset division executives came two weeks after having a separate gathering with senior officials of the semiconductor and display business as the company was assessing the ripple effect from the US decision to put a ban on Chinese tech giant Huawei.

The world’s largest smartphone maker has grappled with slowing growth in the premium smartphone market, while losing a market share in the low-end and mid-tier segment to cost-effective Chinese makers.

According to industry tracker Strategy Analytics, Samsung shipped 71.8 million units of smartphones, or 21.7 per cent of the total, in the January-March period, with its market share falling 8 per cent from a year earlier.

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Although the company tried to boost demand in the high-end market with its Galaxy Fold priced at $1,950, its April launch schedule has been constantly pushed back without further notice over durability issues.

Early reviewers pointed out that the device’s protective screen layer was easy to peel off and gaps made it easy for debris to damage the foldable display. Samsung said earlier this week it will announce the updated schedule “in the coming weeks”, without elaborating. (IANS)