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How Chicago’s female bartenders are fighting the 'white, bearded man' stereotype

August 5, 2018

 

By Morgan Smith

Chicago Tribune

Morgan Smith Chicago Tribune

 

Until the end of a decades-long legal battle in the 1970s, bartending was mostly a man’s world in Chicago. More than 40 years later, female bartenders are in Chicago’s hotels, nightclubs, dive bars, restaurants and anywhere else you can find a good drink. But their success is not without struggle.

Pay, diversity and safety are still obstacles for female bartenders in Chicago. Despite making up the majority of the bartending industry, women earn just 80 percent of their male counterparts’ income, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and The Wall Street Journal. Many female bartenders in Chicago carry a weapon at night or have a game plan for late-night commutes. Also, female bartenders of color tend to have less access to education, exposure and opportunities.

We sat down with six female bartenders to hear their experiences and ask how the industry could do better.

 

On equal pay …

“People don’t talk about it,” says Miranda Breedlove

....

 

On late-night safety …

Alyssa Heidt ...

 

Some Chicago establishments have policies in place to reduce bartenders’ likelihood of being attacked. Carley Gaskin, a bartender at Disco in River North, says bartenders are walked to their cars or Ubers by security — almost no one takes public transit late at night, and “absolutely no one” takes out the trash alone, she says.

...

On diversity …

In neighborhoods like River North and Wrigleyville, hotbeds of Chicago’s nightlife, ..

...

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111 W. HUBBARD ST. // CHICAGO //  THU. &  FRI. 10PM - 4AM // SAT. 10PM - 5AM