If Women Ruled the World (and the Travel Industry)

If Women Ruled the World (and the Travel Industry)

Today I picked up a local newspapers and found an article about what may happen in 2017. With Clinton (USA), May (UK), Sturgeon (Scotland) and Merkel (Germany) potentially all in power at the same time and the possibility of a woman being elected as the new United Nations Secretary General, women appear unstoppable and we can only rejoice at that!

What would we ask of them if this possibility came true? Better still, what difference do we think that having a group of powerful females as head of states and powerful institutions would make to the world and the way we live?

As a woman, I believe that the following should be considered as the most important priorities by females in power and focused on:

  1. Education for all girls
  2. Putting a stop to violence on women
  3. Economic empowerment of women for greater social justice
  4. Greater number of women on boards and generally in senior and influential roles throughout the corporate world
  5. Childcare and greater flexible working (to ensure number 4 can actually happen)
  6. Eliminating the gender pay gap.

Now, if we make a parallel with the travel and tourism industry, if more women were in charge of big corporations, were leading their own businesses, were sitting on boards of travel and tourism companies…what would we expect of them and how would the industry change?

I can only talk on the basis of my experience and the anecdotal (if substantial) evidence that comes from having spoken to hundreds of women over many years of working with and for women in the sector, but this would be my suggested list of priorities:

  1. Childcare and greater flexibility in the work place
  2. Greater number of women on boards and generally in senior and influential roles
  3. Creating a supportive and collaborative environment, free of biases and gender stereotyping so women can feel confident and continue to progress
  4. Equality of pay across the board
  5. Personal and professional development opportunities, mentoring, sponsorships and more.

This is possibly not an exhaustive list, but I would think it is a good start.

As we come together in London during WTM to meet, discuss and network at the 3rd Women in Travel Meetup there will be more opportunities to debate what the priorities are for women in travel and tourism in the 21st century. I invite you not only to join us, but to begin to engage with the discussion by sending me your feedback and also leave your comments here.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Alessandra is founder of social enterprise Women in Travel CIC which she launched in January 2017 to provide communities in key regions (for example UK, Middle East, Africa and Latin America) with a sustainable livelihood by enabling women to become economically independent through entrepreneurship and a thriving career in the travel and tourism industry. Alessandra is also Chief Mentor & Consultant at Everyday Mentor, where she provides mentoring, coaching and consulting services to a range of clients in the commercial and public sector. Alessandra also collaborates with a number of Universities, including Hertfordshire, Normandy and Surrey. Alessandra is passionate about gender in tourism and has written and spoken extensively on the subject over the last 12 years, including at the United Nations World Tourism Day. She is well known as co-founder of Shine People and Places – a boutique outfit dedicate to supporting women in the workplace - and The Shine Awards for Women Achievements in Travel Tourism Hospitality and Events, which she ran between 2004 and 2010 before Sector Skills Council People 1st took them over. Prior to Shine Alessandra worked at KPMG, where she built the Travel & Tourism division, and the World Travel and Tourism Council. Alessandra has an executive MBA from the University of Ediburgh/Grande Ecole Pons combined; she is a qualified coach/mentor for performance in the workplace and she is a member of several industry bodies including AWTE and the UK Tourism Society.

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