Some Thoughts on Equality

Some Thoughts on Equality

March 08, 2020
Cartel Staff
About Cartel, Featured

As a woman in the highest employable role at Cartel, I was late to fully understand that women in influential positions who are high earners is not an example of feminism at work; that we have to distinguish between merely “winning” a powerful role in a patriarchal society and using that role to disrupt the system. “Winning" isn't enough. In fact, if we’re inattentive, it serves to continue the pattern of holding other women back. 

Last summer I was reviewing the Leadership Team’s salaries and was confronted with the fact that our female Leadership Team members were compensated less than the men and the reality that I shared answerability for it. At the time, more than half of the leadership team members were women.

I asked Amy Murphy for her help and quick research showed that 51% of our employees identified as female and that, at the time, those of you who are paid hourly earned on average $0.13 less per hour than those who identified as men. Salaried women earned on average 6% less than salaried men.

So we dug deeper. We asked ourselves why we promoted men more often and why they were compensated more than you. It was not for lack of interest or initiative; it came down to experience.


Why men had or received the experience you didn't, or were simply thought to have it; why perhaps you did have the experience and we failed to see it, I can't justify or explain.

But from that moment, at every opportunity, we have been actively choosing to give you experience to grow in our company and our industry. Not only to choose you for it, but to seek you out.

  • Mercedes, Tucson Retail Manager, who recently participated La Marzocco's technician training.
  • Lisette, Tempe Production Supervisor, who is the first female coffee roaster at Cartel and the first woman to occupy a leadership role on the Production team.
  • Lauren, Tucson Production Associate, who is the solo operator of our Tucson roastery.
  • Jenna, Tempe Production Associate, who tipped the gender scale of the Production team, making it exactly 50% female.
  • Ty, Brand Associate, whose furthered education Cartel is subsidizing as a required part of her role.
  • Our female and non-male identifying Sustainability Council members, who represent 75% of the Council.*


Front, left to right: Lisette B., Amanda M., April B., Zoee A., Ty D. Back, left to right: Jenna M., Kelly E., Amy S., Amy M., Laurel L.


Furthermore, we’ve entirely restructured the retail management pay structure to eliminate the possibility of gender or other bias when deciding a manager's compensation for her assigned stores.

Today, 54% of our employees are female. Women who are paid hourly earn on average $0.26 more than hourly men, more than closing the hourly gap in less than a year. Women who are salaried remain at 6% less on average than salaried men.

The work of feminism is the work of all human rights and a fight against discrimination in all its forms: gender, sexual orientation, race, country of origin, the environment, age, and religion, to name only a few.

Cartel is setting out not only to give you industry experience and close the pay gap, but to place more women in influential roles as a means of disruption. To empower you, to empower others. Keep on asking for experience and expecting to be seen & heard; keep on using your experience to grow in influence and responsibility; and keep on using your influence to seek the advancement of other women in our company and our industry.

We are proud of you.


April Baum in her office in Tempe, Arizona.


This article was written by April Baum, Integrator and Chief Operating Officer at Cartel Coffee Lab. April began as a barista and occupied many roles throughout the business over the course of six years including wholesale, HR, and accounting.

*The remainder being 25% non-binary and 25% male.
**In the US, a full-time female worker earns 80.7 cents for every dollar earned by a full-time male worker. Hispanic women earn 49 cents and black women earn 59 cents compared to white men. Source: Business Insider