Number of Women Running Pubs Falls by Nearly Half, Study Shows

And your local boozer is worse off for it.

by Ruby Lott-Lavigna
30 November 2017, 2:55pm

Photo by author

For some, the local pub is a place of worship. Whether you grew up next to a Michelin-starred gastropub or the Croydon Wetherspoons, memories of sticky carpets, stodgy roast dinners, and two-for-one pitchers will remain burned into your mind forever.

Of course, a landlord can make or break the pub experience. Maybe you’ve had one too many solo drinks after a heated text conversation with your girlfriend about how she sort of fancies her boss “but it’s no big deal xx,” or you just live in the arse-end of Peterborough so have nowhere else to socialise, but a good pub owner knows when to kindly suggest a lime soda or proffer a packet of dry roasted peanuts, on the house.

But it seems that even your friendly local landlord isn’t safe from the grubby claws of sexism. According to a new survey, conducted by hospitality recruiter The Change Group, the number of women running pubs in the UK has dropped by 44 percent in the last five years.

The survey, as reported by industry news site The Morning Advertiser, was conducted using employment data from the Office National Statistics, along with historic stats showing a reduction in the number of people working in pubs. As the number of pubs in the UK continues to decline, it seems that women are the hardest hit (remind you of anything?). While the rate of female license owners has declined by 44 percent over the last five years, the number of male license owners has only decreased by 22 percent. This means that only one in three landlords are women, compared to five years ago, when the statistic was two in five.

When women managers were included in the data, the stats showed a 30-percent decrease over the last five years. A spokesperson for nationwide pub chain Wetherspoons seemed adamant that these findings do not apply to their pubs, despite being unable to show MUNCHIES any data on the gender split in the company. They said: “Wetherspoon is proud of the fact that so many of its pubs are managed by women. This statistic definitely does not apply to our pubs. We have always had a large number of female managers and that is still the case.”

We also asked Joe Williams, venue manager of The Old Blue Last pub in East London for a response to the findings. “It's disappointing to hear that,” he told us. “My original boss was female. The night time economy is quite tough and boisterous. Maybe it's quite unsavory for women who don't want it. We don't have a lot of applications for the position, it does seem to be predominantly men.”

Next time you're in your local boozer, don’t forget to pour one out for the declining women landlords. We hope it’s not last orders yet for the Pat Butchers of the country.