Diversity and Inclusion

Recognizing the Challenges and Victories of Women in Meetings

Skift Take

Despite the gains made with gender equality, there is still a long way to go. We look back at our coverage of equality and equity in the meetings industry as we focus on moving forward. 

Happy International Women’s Day!

Today is a global day celebrating women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements. It also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.

Although much progress has been made, there is still a long way to go. From increasing the number of women leaders in the meetings industry to closing the gender pay gap, much must be done to create a more equitable and inclusive future.

Women’s achievements in the meetings industry have been and will continue to be, a focus of Skift Meetings. In honor of International Women’s Day, we reflect on ten recent stories about women’s leadership.

Female Leadership on the Rise in Events

Women are rising through the ranks of the meetings and hospitality industries, but the corner office remains elusive for most. Is that about to change?

Despite the challenges, some women have reached the top of destination marketing organizations. Martha Sheridan, president and CEO of Meet Boston; Kristen Adamo, president and CEO of Providence Warwick CVB; and Julie Coker, president and CEO of San Diego Tourism Authority, are all female leaders shattering the glass ceiling. Read more…

Will Event Planners Reconsider States Where Abortion Rights Are in Limbo?

The Supreme Court’s decision to eliminate the constitutional right to abortion is being challenged, and the meetings industry is taking note. On August 3, President Joe Biden signed an executive order (EO) to ensure access to abortion that helps women travel out of state.

In June, when the Supreme Court decision came down, some planners said they would not host their gatherings in states where abortion is illegal, a decision with financial and legal ramifications after two years of shutdown. However, for many, meeting in a destination where reproductive health care is comprised is not an option. Read more…

Asia Presents Even Steeper Challenges for Female Travel Leaders Today

Attracting and developing talent is arguably the most critical factor for the travel industry to recover completely. Although women represent approximately 55 percent of the travel industry’s workforce, the vast majority occupy lower-level positions. They were also among the workers most impacted by the pandemic.

The travel industry cannot recover or capture its great potential without improving career opportunities for women. There are opportunities for progress in diversity and inclusion in all sectors and most countries. Read more…

Emerald Acquires Third Female-Led Company in the Past Year

Trade show organizer Emerald has acquired Lodestone Events, producers of the Overland Expo series of vehicle-based, adventure travel consumer shows, the third acquisition of a company led by female founders in the last year. MJBiz and Bulletin were the first and second. 

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are longtime focuses at Emerald. In 2021, Ren Akinci joined as executive vice president, people and culture officer to expand and strengthen its diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Read more…

Incentives, Trends and Personal Missions (podcast)

While the meetings industry is staffed largely by women, most leaders are m. SITE CEO Annette Gregg is one of the few female CEOs of meetings industry associations.

Addressing this imbalance is a challenge, and Gregg has long championed working with other women to help them rise and be promoted within the industry. She advises women looking to progress to focus on creating relationships of influence. Read more…

Diversity Is an Important Part of Event Planners’ Destination Choices

Planners are looking at diversity, equity, and inclusion as strategic business imperatives when choosing the site of their gatherings. Demographics and the political climate are also important facets of a destination being considered for an event.

There are key factors of success for destination marketing organizations that have increased meetings business from diverse groups. It is about recognizing changing demographics; responding to the political climate and national news; involving the local multicultural community; having a dedicated budget plus long-term commitment, and thinking ahead about the next generation that will make up the travel industry. Read more…

The Women Who Shaped Short-Term Rental History

The men got most of the headlines and speaking invitations, but women entrepreneurs helped shape the short-term rental industry from its earliest days. Let’s face it, because of ingrained sexism and the traditional old boys’ networks, men took an inordinate share of the top jobs. Still, there were many talented women leaders and entrepreneurs who likewise shaped the history and trajectory of the global short-term rental industry. Here’s a look at the pioneers. Read more…

Breaking Barriers and Paving the Way (podcast)

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are a passion of Julie Coker, CEO and President of the San Diego Tourism Authority. She is a role model and mentor to many. For her, mentorship and internship programs can help resolve the uneven playing field between men and women in the workplace. They help women move through organizations at the same pace and with the same opportunities as their male counterparts. Read more…

How a Women-Run Tour Company Plays a Role in Puerto Rico’s Tourism Efforts

Women are at the forefront of helping Puerto Rico keep the tourism industry healthy in the face of challenge after challenge. As Puerto Rico’s tourism industry recovers, big business from global companies may sound great, but so does slow-and-steady growth based in local communities. Puerto Rican women are doing that community-focused work. Read more…

Empowering Women Through Mentoring (podcast)

A structured mentoring program can benefit female meeting professionals, no matter how diverse their career paths becomes. Discussing both positive and negative experiences openly with senior industry professionals is incredibly valuable. It guides mentees and gives them the confidence to advance in their careers. Read more…

Photo credit: Hansan Fabregas / Pixaby