Combating gender inequality in hospitality, leisure and tourism sector is focus of new campaign

A new campaign to help combat gender inequality at the top of firms operating in the hospitality, leisure and tourism sector has been launched by sector skills council People 1st.

The Women 1st campaign will seek to tackle the gender imbalance in a sector where 59% of the workforce is female, but only 6% of directors and 26% of senior managers are women.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign, Cherie Blair said it was time to “make sure that women do finally break through the glass ceiling in this industry”.

She said: “Promotion of women to their rightful place is not positive discrimination, but a sensible choice. To utilise the skills women possess and increase diversity in the workforce is a win-win situation for everybody.”

The campaign has pledged to ensure that by 2015 there will be at least one female candidate for every board position available, and gender parity will be created in the top two tiers of organisations in the sector by 2020.

To achieve this, a leadership network will be created, and employers will be encouraged to create their own women’s networks to help female employees understand their career opportunities.

Rhonda Floyd, senior customer services manager at McDonald’s and a member of its Women’s Leadership Network – launched three years ago – told Personnel Today it had helped to boost women’s confidence and presence at the firm.

She said: “McDonald’s is very male dominated. For a long time, women felt that to be part of that they had to fit that mould and take on male traits. The network has encouraged women to embrace their femininity and take ownership of their career development.”

The Women 1st campaign will also focus on increasing the use of mentoring and role model networks, with 50 people having already committed their support.

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