Male dominance of travel industry boardrooms was laid bare at this week’s ITT conference in Italy.
Speaking at a session led by TTG group editor Pippa Jacks and editor Sophie Griffiths, Paul Alexander of Beyond Analysis revealed one in four travel companies he examined before the conference had no women on their boards.
Other findings of the study of 28 companies included:
Karen Gill, chief executive and co-founder of everywoman, said travel companies were slowly moving towards a new gender balance at senior levels – but there was a long way to go.
“Slowly, the balance of power is being disrupted," she told the panel. "This means companies are gearing up and becoming more inclusive for everybody, not just different genders.
“The debate needs to be less about where women have come from and more about where we are going to. Today’s CEOs have the same aspirations for their daughters as they do for their sons.”
Gill added it was clear there was still a great deal of confusion around the gender pay gap among businesses.
“I’m surprised at how many people confuse the gender pay gap with unequal pay, which is illegal in the UK,” she said.
Alexander told the panel companies had no excuses for not putting more women in senior positions.
“A lot of companies say they can’t find more women for senior roles," he said. "They are either not looking in the right places or don’t know where to look. Change is cultural and culture starts at the top.
“It’s clear that boards with proper female representation do better with top line profitability. If all else fails to convince, the money is there.”
Richard Calvert, chief executive of the newly-rebranded Specialist Leisure Group, said only two of 27 candidates recently put forward for a chief financial officer at the business had been female.
He added the industry needed to do better as a whole to shout louder about the brilliant example of leaders such as Jo Rzymowska of Celebrity Cruises and Lisa McAuley of Gold Medal/Travel2.
“Can we afford to be complacent? No,” said Calvert. “But the size of our megaphone needs to be bigger.”