International Women's Day: Sweet Treats vs. Impactful Change
Step 1 : Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line cupcake tray.
“ Just really quickly” my boss says, his eyes flicking to the clock “In a few weeks it’ll be International Women's Day”.
I sighed internally. I really didn't have the energy for what was coming next.
“ Jan, be a sweetheart and get some cupcakes organised again?” He says to me, “We’ve budgeted about $300 for the office.”
I smiled as best as I could. With the amount of work we were getting in, I already had to put in overtime, that coupled with the kids and their extracurriculars, I didn’t really have time for cupcake making honestly.
But who else would do it.
“Yeah, too easy.” I forced out, writing the task down on my already crowded planner.
“Amazing, that's all for now, team.” He said grinning “I’ll give some of your time back”
Step 2 : Set Blackberries aside. Crush the remaining blackberries on a plate with a fork. Combine the food colour and vinegar in a small bowl, stir until smooth.
I know what you’re thinking, ‘That's so unrealistic!’ What workplace sets aside $300 for cupcakes?
The rest though? Might as well be a documentary film.
On a day for celebrating women, it is often women's unpaid labour that fuels that celebration. A burden that they carry without complaint, because of course, we’re ‘celebrating’ women.
It’s also a celebration that rings false, because really, a sweet treat isn’t going to help the fact that the gender pay gap is still sitting at a cool 13.8%
It’s not helping the fact that only 19.4% of CEO roles in Australia are currently held by women.
It’s really not helping the fact that in Australia, 330,000 women reported they were sexually harassed by someone who they had a work or professional relationship with in 2022.
These are not easy things to hear but they also aren’t statistics we can just brush under the rug.
Step 3 : Cream the butter and sugar with hand beaters until light and creamy. Add purple vinegar mixture, beat until well combined. Add cocoa, beat until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well. Stir in half the flour then half the buttermilk. Repeat with remaining flour and buttermilk. Fold in the crushed blackberries. Divide mixture into the cupcake tray.
The first step is for workplaces to listen.
Do women really want purple cupcakes? Do they really want to attend a women's day seminar? Do they really want a long email in their inbox about how they are proud to have so many female staff members working there?
If the first step is listening, then the second is providing all of the tools women need to thrive.
Our research shows that 96% of menstruating staff have been caught out, getting their period at work with no products available for them to use. 42% of interviewees have left their workplaces as a direct result of not having period products accessible to them.
Most people just want to do their job and do their job well. Offices supply things like free coffee, tea, notebooks and pens. These have been proven to inspire productivity and streamline efficiency in the same way access to period products do.
The only difference is that one is a perk and the other supports a bodily need.
It also seems contradictory when a workplace labels themselves as inclusive when it doesn't have period products in its bathrooms? That's like not having toilet paper available to wipe your bum. (For our Asian readers this is like not having a bidet in the bathroom)
Step 4 : Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until cooked when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Stand in the pan for 5 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
If you are a leader in the workplace, maybe it’s time to reflect on what more you can do for the women in our work community. It might be time to shift that $300 cupcake budget towards creating a long term impact for inclusion. We at TABOO encourage those who are reading, who have the power to make that change to start with the provisioning of period products to your workplace.
If you’re worried about cost, don’t. A backup supply of TABOO period products for just one employee will cost you $5.44c for an entire year. For further information, I encourage you to have a look at TABOO’s ‘Cycle Supply’ page which is designed to do all the calculating for you.
Step 5 : For the icing, beat cream cheese and butter with a hand mixer until combined. Add icing sugar and beat on low speed until smooth. Add purple colour, beat until evenly distributed.
If you are an employee who doesn’t have period care in the workplace, it can be an awkward conversation to have with your boss, male or female.
“Hey Brad, during our one on one chat, I really wanted to bring up the fact that I bleed once a month and so would really appreciate if the company could start supplying tampons so that I don’t accidentally bleed on the expensive Hermann Miller chairs”
Power to you if this is you, but for most there is a bit of a stigma surrounding discussing menstruation at the workplace
We encourage you to visit the ‘Bloody Important Conversation’ microsite and fill in the blanks. Once filled the site will anonymously send an email to your place of work, requesting period care for you and your co-workers. Lifting the burden from you, to us.
Step 6 : Pipe onto cakes using a 13mm star nozzle. Top with reserved blackberries.
So this coming International Women's Day, celebrate women by providing support, whether menstrual or otherwise, because even if they make it look easy, it almost never is.
And for those who aren’t quite ready for change, feel free to use the cupcake recipe listed above. I’m sure it’ll be a hit on March 8th.
Step 7 : Serve.
Recipe taken from perfection.com