Thursday 8th March was International Women’s Day 2018 and its theme was #pressforprogress.
Women in Travel run a day of celebration in connection with a leading hospitality trade show here in the UK. Hospitality is an important ‘ring’ in the Travel & Tourism chain and many of the attendees came from the broader community: hotels, restaurants, travel, technology and many other suppliers were represented at the event and joined in talks, debates and mentoring.
I realised with some excitement that mine – however amazing – was actually just one of the many events promoted around the UK within Travel & Tourism to celebrate International Women’s Day. Looking at social media platforms like LinkedIn, it was apparent that more than ever before there was a huge global engagement from all sectors: women and like-minded men, committed to supporting gender equality and empowering their female colleagues, sisters, friends and mothers to be their best and achieve their best. All, men and women, committed to #pressforprogress, the theme of this year’s campaign.
This was truly a wonderful realisation and a great feeling. Possibly because of the #metoo campaign, the many abuses of power and the huge gender pay gap discussions that have filled newspapers over the last 6-12 months, sisters are starting to truly come together and doing it for themselves!
While we may think this is obvious, we still hear far too many stories of women making it difficult for other women to enter a sector or climb the ladder. Often women in senior roles are identified as being the obstacles to other women’s careers. Last week, a debate on this appeared on LinkedIn, and received many comments and likes. Unfortunately, in my view, women in senior roles often still perceive that unless they are seen to adapt to the style of their male role models, they will not actually make it in business or they will be judged as weak and overlooked. I believe this attitude will only change if there are enough women at the top to impact the culture and perhaps change it to value a more feminine style of leadership.
So here is to #IWD18 for putting the spotlight on women coming together and supporting each other! The challenge is now to continue the process and move progress from this one day the day-to-day.