It’s not often the spotlight is on women at a Premier League football ground – or even at a conference. But at last week’s Elman Wall Travel Directors’ Summit at Arsenal’s Emirates stadium, females were very much centre stage.
The all-women conference line-up – thought to be a UK industry first – was a bold move by managing director Jonathan Wall, who said he wanted to celebrate the centenary of some women having the vote. And it was a decision not without criticism – one commentator tweeted: “Isn’t the best idea to select a conference line-up on the basis of merit and ability, rather than gender?”
The answer to this, of course, is yes. Which is why the Travel Directors’ Summit featured an excellent line-up of senior figures from across the industry – who just happened to be female.
Speaker Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, made a rather pertinent point. “You wouldn’t blink an eye if you saw an all-male line-up,” she said. “This is not about excluding men. This is about putting the spotlight on women and women’s voices.”
It’s a spotlight growing increasingly brighter around the world – especially at the Chobe Game Lodge in Botswana. As TTG finds out this week, the lodge has been “opening girls’ eyes to the possibility of making a career in guiding” after boasting the only all-female safari guiding team in Botswana since 2010.
Closer to home, groups such as everywoman (which TTG is proud to partner with) are also breaking down barriers. This week, we reveal the finalists for its 2018 awards, which for the first time include a category highlighting the “male agents of change advancing the progress of women”.
It’s a reminder that gender equality can only be achieved with the support of both male and female champions – affording both genders the same opportunity to shine.