Supporting Women


Raissa de Haas, Co-Founder of Double Dutch, shares insight into the brand’s annual Female Bartending Scholarship, explaining how they are elevating women in the industry and why this is so important.

Raissa, what influenced the establishment of Double Dutch’s Female Bartending Scholarship?

The hospitality industry sees women underrepresented in senior and management positions. It’s a particularly difficult industry, as disproportionately to males, it’s women who more often face the issue of having to choose to put their career OR family first, and this is seen to a greater extent in hospitality with the long and often unsociable hours. 

“While it is a call to address the gender disparity that’s prevalent in the sector, we want to take real action by helping women to unlock progression in their career and these deserved opportunities.”

It’s these personal experiences, and observations of the challenges women face in the hospitality sector, that drove us to create the Female Bartending Scholarship Programme, to provide aspiring female bartenders with the necessary support and opportunities to excel in their careers.

As a female-led brand, we have always been committed to celebrating and empowering women in the drinks and hospitality sector, and recognised the need to address the underrepresentation in leadership roles. We wanted to do something to help and encourage women to flourish and capitalise on the skills they have, combining with the strong female network that we have nurtured so we can help mentor and empower others. 

Why is this programme so crucial to the industry, in terms of empowering women and promoting equality, and how is this programme combatting a lack of representation in the industry?

The Female Bartending Scholarship Programme, now in its fourth year, is more vital than ever with the latest statistics still showing low numbers of representation in the industry. Only around 6% of women are in CEO positions, and the gender pay gap in hospitality actually increased from 4.2% to 5.2% last year. 

While it is a call to address the gender disparity that’s prevalent in the sector, we want to take real action by helping women to unlock progression in their career and these deserved opportunities. Plus, we want to make sure we keep this fantastic talent in the industry! 

The scholarship aims to empower women via professional training and personalised mentoring to help them to progress further in their career, whilst also creating a supportive community for aspiring female bartenders.

Back for its fourth year, how successful has the scholarship programme been amongst women in the industry so far?

The response from scholars has been super positive! From helping to build confidence, enabling them to develop their drinks knowledge – and even getting to meet new people and expand their networks. 

It’s because of this success and feedback from previous years that we’ve extended the number of applicants we can take on to 12, so we can help even more female talent to unlock progression and these career opportunities.  

How has the programme been a great break-through for women in the industry, and how have the past scholars used their experience to begin or excel their career?

The Female Bartending Scholarship Programme has acted as a breakthrough for women by providing not just skills enhancement, but also a platform to propel them further in their hospitality careers and a way of opening doors. 

One scholar from last year has since secured a Head Bar Coach position, one is planning to use the new drinks knowledge gained to set up their own drinks consultancy service, whilst another has since gone on to travel the world, securing a position in Dubai. It shows the varied opportunities that are out there for women, and we’re so proud to see the impact our Female Bartending Scholarship Programme has had on these women so far.  

As a successful woman in the industry, how would you have appreciated a similar initiative when you were looking to break-through into the industry?

Having Joyce as my co-founder has helped alleviate any problems we may have encountered, but for most women, they’re navigating the journey alone and so this support is needed.  

Beyond the practical skills and support, a programme like the Female Bartending Scholarship would have offered the confidence needed to navigate the industry effectively, along with a supportive community and network of like-minded individuals and mentors – something that is so invaluable when starting out in business.

Why would you recommend aspiring young women in the industry to apply for the scholarship?

The Female Bartending Scholarship Programme brings brilliant networking opportunities with industry trailblazers like Anna Sebastian, Founder of Celebrate Her, Laura Willoughby, Founder of Club Soda, and Kelly Harrison, Head of Bars for New World Trading Company. 

It also offers skill enhancement through unparalleled drinks education, including expert one-on-one training, insights, and advice to drive women to unlock their potential and open new opportunities. 

With an expanded intake this year, there’s an even greater opportunity for women to unlock this progression and support and grow in their professional journey. We’ll also be inviting all applicants who don’t make it onto the main programme to wider virtual sessions with our trailblazers, so huge benefits all round.  

To be the first to find out about future programmes, visit www.doubledutchdrinks.com/pages/scholarship-application. This year’s successful applicants will be announced on International Women’s Day (8 March 2024).

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