Imagine a world without women pizza makers. Sadly, it’s easier than you think considering that women have been largely invisible in the pizza business since the industry first arose as a culinary force in the early 20th century.

Never mind that women were often the recipe makers, teachers, motivators and nurturers to most, if not all, of the men who came to dominate the segment. Women lent their names to countless pizzerias around the U.S., but most of us only knew those names—usually someone’s mom or grandmother—in relation to the man who owned and ran the shop. We didn’t know who the women really were or the outsize role they played in that pizzeria’s success.

That has begun to change, thanks in large part to pizzaiola and influencer Christy Alia of @realcleverfood, founder of Women’s Pizza Month in March. And she’s inviting pizzeria owners to spur further positive change by honoring important women in their lives with a unique pizza for their menu this month.

Related: Women In Pizza: How Amanda Jones mentors future pizzaiolas

Alia has spearheaded a nationwide movement in tandem with Alexandra Mortati, founder of Women In Pizza and the marketing director of Orlando Foods. Inspired by these dynamic leaders, PMQ has joined in this month’s celebration of amazing pizzaiolas with special coverage in our March print issue and bonus content on our website.

Mortati conducts the interviews and writes profile articles about leading pizzaiolas for the Women In Pizza account (@womeninpizza) on Instagram. For PMQ’s March 2024 cover story, she personally chose and shared 10 of those stories with our readers. Due to limited space, the articles were condensed for print, but PMQ will run each one in full throughout the month here on our website.

So what did Alia have in mind when she started Women’s Pizza Month? “We have just one International Women’s Day,” she told the podcast, “What’s Good Dough,” in March 2022. “It just did not seem like enough. I was thinking to myself, is there any way we can make this bigger—global?”

Since then, the movement has taken off, particularly on Instagram, where Alia holds sway with more than 41,300 followers of @realcleverfood.

“It’s the world’s biggest pizza party,” she told the podcast. “That’s how I want people to look at it. It’s about having fun. It’s about celebrating half of the world’s population, but the entire world is invited. And you can’t get more inclusive than that.”

Female pizza makers have seldom gotten the attention they deserve, despite their influential role behind the pizza industry’s scenes. “It frustrated me a little bit that, when you hear people talk about who their favorite pizza makers are or just pizza makers they’ve heard of, oftentimes…women’s names aren’t coming up,” Alia said. “When I think of super-exciting pizza makers, I do think about women. I’ll throw out Sarah Minnick (owner of Lovely’s Fifty-Fifty, a celebrated pizzeria in Portland). I feel like she’s the most influential pizza maker out there. Even if you don’t know that you’ve been influenced by her, you probably have. If you put anything seasonal on your pizza—that whole idea of being seasonal with your pizza—I want to thank her for that.”

Related: Christy Alia teams with top industry vendors on scholarships for pizzaiolas

Alia is asking pizzeria owners and chefs to create a special pizza (or maybe more than one) for Women’s Pizza Month and dedicate it to a woman who inspired them. “I have to imagine that most people have at least one woman…they want to make a pizza for,” she said in the “What’s Good Dough” interview. “What’s really, really cool about that is, it’s a community builder. We learn a lot about the pizza maker because they’re a unique person. [The person] who’s inspiring them is a unique person. And the pizza itself is going to be unique. So here we are, sharing a little bit about ourselves.”

To share their woman-inspired pies on social media, pizza makers are asked to use the hashtag #womenspizza month. They can also tag @realcleverfood to get Alia’s attention.

In previous years, Alia added, “we had pizzas that were dedicated to women who changed history, who changed the world. We had pizzas that were dedicated to women who maybe just changed that individual (pizza maker) in one small way. And we had pizzas that were dedicated to women who were just too cool not to shout out. And each pizza was very unique.”

Alia has also partnered with Stanislaus Foods and Corto Olive Co. to develop a new scholarship program for aspiring pizzaiolas. The program will award five scholarships for a multiday intensive Master Pizza Seminar at Pizza University.

Candidates can now apply for the scholarship starting on March 1 through May 15. Aspiring pizzaiolas can get more information and apply at

“When you think about pizza makers in general and some of the best ones, I hope, after Women’s Pizza Month, at least one woman will pop into your head,” Alia said. “That will be a big win for me.”

And for women everywhere, we might add.

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