Editor's Blog

Why a new approach is needed to secure real change for women

To mark International Women’s Day on 8 March, Moya Maxwell, director of venues at RIBA (pictured), shares her thoughts on women in the events industry; where we are, where we’re going and what needs to change.

Towards the end of last year, RIBA was lucky enough to host BCD Meetings & Events for the launch of its inspirational whitepaper on Women in Travel, Events and Hospitality. The research revealed some astounding insights into the role of women in the workplace and showed that most sectors in the industry still have a long way to go when it comes to achieving equal career opportunities.

The events industry has a significant female workforce, yet only 27 per cent of females are at CEO or MD level. With so many other industries championing and encouraging their senior female workforce, it is clear that the events industry has some catching up to do. We need to give women the confidence to put themselves forward for more senior roles which will consequently result in an increase in strong, female role models for those entering the industry.

At RIBA, we are always looking to celebrate the role of women in architecture through exhibitions and initiatives such as our renowned Women in Architecture Day. Our events team works hard to reflect this across all of our venues, encouraging women to develop their skills, not just in event management but also in leadership, self-assessment and confidence.

In order to instigate change in the workplace we will need to break with tradition and alter our approaches to a company’s ideas, infrastructure and commitment to personal development.

On that note, let me leave with you with some changes I personally would love to see happen in the events industry in 2018.

• In a sector that’s renowned for long hours and evening work, businesses should find an approach to flexible working that fits with them and their employees. With the majority of event professionals being female, it is vital that companies are accommodating towards commitments outside of the workplace.

• More importance should be placed on personal development and learning. In order to get more female event professionals to the top, companies should be providing them with ample opportunities to expand their knowledge and experience.

• Current female business leaders should commit to mentoring those seeking to work their way up in the industry. By giving valuable insights and advice to young women at the start of their careers, we will see an increase in women reaching higher levels in the events industry. This year, I will be mentoring as part of the Fast Forward 15 initiative, something that I am looking forward to immensely. Research has shown that our sector still has a long way to go to achieve equal career opportunities. I am honoured to be playing a part in changing the environment for talented women in the events sector by becoming a mentor to one such individual.

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