After studying psychology, Nuria Escarpa discovered the world of dough. Two years ago, she co-founded 3 letras PAN in Madrid, a bakery included in the Spanish Good Bread Route of Panàtics 2021, which promotes the elaboration of artisan bread and sweets with organic flour and natural sourdough.
1.- How has the role of women in the bakery evolved in the last 10 years?
Women have always been present in the bakery, in fact, women are the ones who in many bakeries are the necessary livelihood and daily support, both inside and outside the workshop. What has changed in recent years is their visibility, by giving them decision-making powers, overseeing the business, and sharing spaces in which they were not present before.
2.- What are the challenges facing women in the sector?
Firstly, having the same capacity to negotiate with suppliers and clients, to relate with our professionals or to make decisions that directly or indirectly affect the business. Secondly, visibility and recognition in an eminently masculine sector, in which physical strength has been associated with the possibility of performing daily work. We all have a place in this trade, it is women who must find their place to be able to demonstrate, without proving anything to anyone, that it is possible to make bread and dough, not just sweets and pastries.
3.- Do you think there are the same opportunities (salaries, positions of responsibility, recognition...) for women and men?
In other companies it is clear to me that there are differences in terms of categories and ranks or positions of responsibility, although little by little this is changing. I have seen everything, from very valuable professionals with no possibility of occupying positions of responsibility or directly selection processes in which they are sifted by gender. Of course, in our company, what we can assure you is that there is equity, and what is important is professional value, regardless of gender.
4.- Do you think that there is little presence of women in bakery congresses and events, and in competitions? What actions could be taken to combat female invisibility?
Yes, I think there are fewer women than there should be, often because of our own personal burdens at home; responsibilities to our families, partners or children prevent us from being present in all the spaces where we should be. Even in some events we should not have to differentiate between men's and women's spaces, as happens in the bakery every day, since we all share work and profession.
5.- What is the percentage of women in the staff of 3 PAN letters? Are there specific positions for women or men?
There are five women and one man in the staff of six people that make up 3 letras PAN. All the people, regardless of their gender, are qualified to perform tasks in the bakery and production, customer service and commercial work. I do not understand a work team if it is not based on complementarity and working in harmony, without looking for more than the value, capabilities, and skills of each of the people who work in it. Without forgetting the crucial importance that I give to the attitude of the workers towards the issues and the resolution of problems that arise in the day to day.
6.- What recommendations would you give to students who want to dedicate themselves to this profession?
That they prepare themselves physically and mentally, that it is a hard but wonderful job, exciting and that always gives you surprises. It is a job of constant creation and in which inspiration and creation have a lot of room. And that companies are made up of people with whom you spend many hours a day, from whom you learn and with whom you share half your life.
7.- Have you ever experienced any situation of discrimination in your profession because you are a woman?
At the beginning of my professional career, as soon as I left the Asempan bakery school, I had the opportunity to work in an Intersicop and from there I was hired to work in a bakery. Before that I had been looking for a job in my hometown and it was the baker's own daughters who told him not to hire me because I was a woman, at that time I felt terrible, and I could not believe that they had not even given me the opportunity. Then life takes many turns and they have been the ones who have gone into the bakery to take the business forward when their father could not take care of it. In the rest of my professional career, I have been lucky enough to meet wonderful professionals, men and women who make this profession an art and, moreover, share it.