Eight Problems Women Face in Building a Hospitality Career and Action Steps That Can Help
Resources, Examples Prevalent in Industry
Women face plenty of challenges in building a career.
In this column, I'll address some common ones and provide some solutions.
Women often face gender bias and discrimination at hiring, including the unconscious biases that can affect women's hiring, promotion and overall career advancement.
Among the solutions, employers should create and enforce policies and procedures in recruitment, performance evaluations and promotions, make data-driven decisions and advertise roles through new channels.
Lack of representation and leadership development — when there are few women in top leadership positions — can make it harder for other women to visualize themselves in those roles and for organizations to create a pipeline of female leaders.
The solution requires women to identify their ideal future role and then go find women that have made it there so they could become examples. The hospitality industry has some excellent guidance from recognized leaders, such as:
- Top 50 Women in Travel by GBTA
- Top 25 minds in Hospitality
- Women of Progress by Travel Weekly
- Most influential Women in Hospitality by CODE
There has been a revolution around communities that support women and provide empowering and learning resources. Consider these organizations as leaders for promoting women in hospitality:
- Castell, An AHLA Foundation Project
- DEI Advisors
- ForWard: Women Advancing Hospitality®
- Inspiring Women in Hospitality
- She Has a Deal. (SHaD)
- Travel Industry Executive Women’s Network (TIEWN)
- WINiT by GBTA
- Women Leading Travel & Hospitality
- Women in Travel Thrive
Women still earn less than men on average, and this gap is even wider for women of color. Ensuring equal pay and compensation for women is crucial to their inclusion and advancement in the workplace.
Try conducting a gender pay/benefit gap analysis to identify any gender-based disparities and take steps to address them. Perhaps all associations listed above could work on a benchmark together to provide context and guidance. Then take some action steps to put new policies into place.
Mentorship and sponsorship should exist to provide guidance, support and opportunities for career advancement.
The associations above provide networking and mentorship opportunities as part of their regular programs. Here are some others:
- Women in Travel THRIVE mentorship
- Rising Leader Councils | HSMAI Americas
- Phocuswright Connects
- Travel Tech Executive Fellowship
A Healthy Balance
Work-life balance with personal responsibilities is a must for women who work.
Possible solutions include remote work and flexible hours, providing parental leave — regardless of gender — and family-friendly policies such as child/elderly care assistance.
Everyone Is Different
Intersectionality means we need to recognize that women have different experiences and face different challenges.
Take steps to offer training and education on diversity issues to help employees and leaders of any gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability status and other factors, such as culture or background, to understand and address the challenges facing women and other underrepresented groups. This has to be a global training across all organizations.
An Inclusive Culture
Creating a culture that values diversity, equity, and inclusion is important for women to feel included and supported in the workplace. This includes promoting inclusive behaviors and creating opportunities for diverse voices to be heard.
Promote a culture of inclusion and respect and hold employees and leaders accountable. There are certain behaviors that should be simply not acceptable.
There may be societal expectations and stereotypes that women should prioritize family and the home over their careers, which can limit their ambition and opportunities for advancement.
Be sure to regularly assess progress toward gender parity and adjust policies and practices as needed to address any areas of concern or improvement.
*This article was originally publised on Hotel News Now.
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