International Women’s Day: Beer Reflections

"I was frustrated that this one day was the prompt for all these amazing stories that we should be celebrating all year round."

By Zoe Ottaway

I’ve been feeling quite reflective leading into this year’s International Women’s Day.

On a personal level it’s been a rather challenging past 12 months and it’s fair to say that this time last year, I simply wasn’t in the IWD mood. I was in a hell of a mood, but not one that wanted to take part. Where I’d normally be shouting out loud and banging that pink drum, I was happy to simply sit back and watch it go by.

It wasn’t that I wasn’t proud of my work or of the amazing women in my life, I was just drained. I was frustrated that this one day was the prompt for all these amazing stories that we should be celebrating all year round. I was tired of defending why we need IWD and why women actually are still needing to challenge stereotypes, bias and perceptions. I felt that these conversations and celebrations were always happening by the same (female) people to the same (female) audiences.

I was truly a Debbie Downer (and even that – why is it Debbie? Why the eff isn’t it Darren? Or a unisex Darcy?)

But then the beauty of IWD hit me.

Yes, there were all these events and social media posts I had dubiously anticipated but the sheer number of them was contagious. Holy heck. There are so many women out there in so many fields, not just representing but actually creating sustainable and permanent change.

From changing the way we undermine the weight of motherhood, to holding positions on boards and C-suite positions, to kicking a footy on televised games, to proudly owning their bodies and how wonderful they are for simply being alive.

The day wasn’t meek and mild, nor was it aggressive and polarising. It was inclusive, diverse and proud. Change wasn’t being fought for but worked on, as a team, and all were welcome.

IWD last year actually changed me a little. For the past year I’ve been more aware of these messages and efforts and how unapologetic yet respectful they have been. Conversations around consent, acceptance and progress are constant and there’s a growing unity in only accepting equality, respect and recognition.

Excuses were no longer being tolerated, nor were old, demeaning habits. Inappropriate words were being corrected and shit was getting called out. It. Was. Brilliant.

The world certainly has a lot of issues and equality is still one, but the efforts we do every day on our own help build communities that have evolved past accepting equality but enabling it as the only way known.

Individually we are all responsible for our own actions and decisions throughout the year but together, there’s this power that can’t be harnessed or restrained. There’s change and it’s coming … loud.

I’m extremely proud of Pink Boots Australia. By simply being a member or supporter of the organisation, we are enabling change that will benefit others – and not just other female beer professionals.

While a lot of equality issues need stronger leadership from governments and big businesses, the power of individuals to come together is almost overwhelming (if it wasn’t so bloody amazing) and Pink Boots shows this every day.

I adore our constant sharing of ideas. Even if they don’t come to fruition, just having the discussions, knowing we are in a safe space to share freely and without judgment – this unrestrained creativity and desire to do more is always inspirational. Each and every one of us has contributed to this as an individual to create something extraordinary as a community.

The willingness to share information, knowledge and experience. The equality in the organisation in that every person matters, no matter what your link to beer is. The genuine passion to support each other and the feeling of being supported in return.

There’s so many things that make Pink Boots Australia incredible and while IWD might be the catalyst for publicity around women and our achievements, we see it every day of the year.

We’ve got great things ahead and so do you. I encourage you all to do something that for IWD next year you can reflect upon. Do something that might make you feel uncomfortable or might seem too radical to take on. Back yourself because, trust me, you’ve got this.

By doing that one thing to develop yourself, personally or professionally, your individual effort contributes to enabling others and, eventually, this change and improvements will simply be the way we live, in a gender equal (and other societal areas needing equality) world.

I hope you all have a fruitful IWD and do something, big or small, to recognise and celebrate your work and contribution to the world and those of the women around you. Be proud of your actions and always know that, alone or together, we are enabling equality for all.


Zoe Ottaway is vice president of Pink Boots Australia.

Pink Boots Society is an organisation formed to support women in the beer industry. For more information on the Pink Boots Society in Australia please contact

Pink Boots Society members Australia-wide brewed beers for International Women’s Day. Check out the events below where you can try the beers and support Pink Boots!

VIC: Sunday March 8 International Women’s Day Celebration at Lucky Coq from 5pm pouring Colonial’s Collaboration Brew Hop Maiden.

VIC: Friday 6 March International Women’s Day at Two Birds Brewing from 6.30pm, with Warrior Women on tap

VIC: Friday 6 March International Women’s Day at HopHeads

VIC: from Monday March 9 Women in Beer from all taps at WeWork switched to beers brewed by women. Join them throughout the week or at 5pm Friday 13 for We Work IWD Happy Hour.

VIC: Sunday March 8 King River Brewing pouring Colonial Collaboration brew Hop Maiden.

NSW: Friday March 6 from 4pm Young Henry’s launch of Free the Neipa brewed with Pink Boots Hops.

NSW: Sunday 8 March The Kurrajong Hotel hosting a tap takeover

WA & VIC: Sunday 8 March Little Creatures Fremantle and Geelong on launching International Women’s Ale, raising funds for Homeward bound projects for women in STEM.

QLD: Sunday 8 March The Taphouse Townsville tap takeover with brews featuring the Pink Boots Hop Blend

ACT: Sunday 8 March Bentspoke launching Marion, their IWD beer featuring Pink Boots Hops