Your Say – Is the Travel Industry Getting it right for Women?

Your Say – Is the Travel Industry Getting it right for Women?

I sought feedback from female members of the travel industry who I respect and admire on the question of “Is the travel industry” doing enough for women / getting it right for women?”.

On 22 May we published called “One for the Ladies“

It’s a hot topic just now in mainstream media. The Rebel Wilson article is the worst.  A glossy mag, designed for women, with a focus on ripping women down, being sued by Rebel.  This commentary piece from Inkl on Female Entrepreneurs highlights the depth of the issue and the shallow understanding that many, including myself, are prone to having.

I sought feedback from female members of the travel industry who I respect and admire on the question of “Is the travel industry doing enough for women or getting it right for women?”.

I had no expectations. Mona Tannous from the Sultanate of Oman Tourism demonstrated how broad the canvas could be in providing an answer.

 ”Being worthy” is something that a lot of women, especially in their late 30s, battle with because of the paradigms that we have grown up in. Women can go to university but most would battle with the balance of career and family.

“We are pushed and pulled between obligations to ourselves as individuals and to our employers when motherhood comes along and being there for our children (or nieces and nephews).

“Woman are judged more than men in terms of looks, career choices and performance. It’s the woman MD’s CEO’s and GM’s who are our biggest “judgers”.  In some regards judgement is simply a reflection of how you perceive the world and how we judge ourselves. We judge others by the perceptions we have in our own life – it comes back to self worth. “

WOW Travel have been customers of roomsXML since the very early days and Lisa and Robyn are outspoken supporters for all things pro agent. Lisa suggested

“Inequality raised its ugly head a millennia ago, so it’s no surprise that Females don’t value themselves enough and compound that with being their own worst enemy. They allow themselves to be managed by males.  But the ones that do get to the top seem to be holding a bag of lollies they aren’t sharing – shame! Females need to support females – get empowered and support the right person for the job.”

A respondent who asked for anonymity suggested that empowerment is up to the individual.

“It’s not up to the “travel industry” to get this right; each individual is in charge of their own career.  If a female doesn’t believe that this is happening because they are female then it is up to them to turn this around – not the industry.  In the business world there are plenty of examples of female leaders and the travel industry should be no exception.   Harder road – but if you have ambition it shouldn’t stop you.   “

Travel Manager Penny Hall suggested “As a female travel professional my needs are met every inch of the way. I’ve not ever been on a famil that was directed toward anything or anyone otherwise. I have never felt secondary as a woman whilst traveling away from home or sitting at my desk selling.

Penny Spencer is  one of the most influential shapers of personal development trends in the Australian travel industry. People constantly refer to Penny’s achievement and influence. I was lucky enough to meet with her a few weeks ago and in person she has a wonderful balance of humility yet with a confident presence.

“The travel industry is getting it right for women – there is more flexibility in the workplace and respect for female leaders. As a female leader I believe women are doing more and being recognized for this. The industry does enough for women by ensuring we look after each other;  there is a lot more “girlpower” than there was 10 years ago.”

This was reflected by Tina Almond from The Village Travel . “The 2016 launch of the Women In Travel Awards was a huge step forward for the industry. It’s awesome to see incredible women in this industry achieving some incredible results and being acknowledged.

“I have been in the industry for over a decade and have been blessed to have met some truly amazing women in top positions who continue to inspire me.  “

In sifting through the responses, contradictions are easy to find.  “Employment opportunities for women with the potential to progress to leadership roles, post baby, are few and far between.  In reality the travel time, workloads and peer expectations make returning to work hard going.  It doesn’t create the opportunity for women to shine in their roles.

“How many programs exist to support women through the entire span of their careers in the Travel Industry? Often this is a short window of a few years where a different role in travel would support, develop and inspire women to hit the ground running when they are ready for Full time employment.”

Another agreed. “Part -time roles, job share and mobile travel agent roles have evolved as a result of the need for women to balance home and family life with work.  So has the industry supported women in this transition?  Not really. If we call all these new roles “Part-timers” I see the failings as lost opportunities for professional development and  job security is not assured. It seems older management think they are slacking off as they do not work full-time.

“Some small agencies do not have the financial ability to have staff away as the tasks can not be completed by others and perceived as a loss in sales opportunity.”

How to balance out these varied opinions? On the whole, I think they were collectively saying it’s “doing okay” with the opportunity to do so much more.

What do you think?

Next time asking them more specifically, are women in the travel industry doing enough for the other women in the industry.




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