As the main decision-makers when it comes to travel, reports show that women make 80% to 85% of travel decisions and represent two-thirds of global travellers.
Despite their strong presence and influence in the travel industry as consumers, gender inequality and a lack of representation still exist in the businesses that cater to them, particularly in management or board-level roles.
This is evident in the tourism industry where women comprise of 55% of the workforce and yet only 20% are in management positions and only 8% are in high-level roles. And this isn’t isolated to tourism. In the aviation sector, out of all the pilots in the world, only 5.2% are women. This is in spite of an annual growth rate of 5-10%.
Significant strides still need to be made to battle this inequality. Fortunately, the industry is recognising this issue. Organisations led by women or who have strong supporters are doing things to champion gender equality and take things in the right direction.
Here’s how we are championing women in travel at Livn, as well as how other travel businesses can become allies:
Women in Key Roles at Livn
We pride ourselves on the number of women in key leadership positions at Livn and we’ve found our culture of equality and female-empowerment creates a high-performing culture which directly shapes our strategies, products and performance.
Just some of the powerful and impactful women in our senior management positions include:
- Tammy Dennis - Project Manager and Business Analyst
- Ellynn McNee – Customer Support Manager
- Jane Lodge – Supplier Relationship Manager
- Aleta Hunt – Head Of Partnerships
- Megan Chard – Content Manager
- Sabereen Khan – Senior QC Analyst
- Lia Geraissate - Head of Marketing
- Donna Richards – Technical Support Specialist
But it doesn’t stop there. We also actively promote female-led partnerships like with Jackie Babbage’s Gifting Owl. Founded and led by Jackie, it’s a one-stop shop for gifting or booking activities worldwide.
Head of Partnerships, Aleta Hunt, shares what Livn looks for in partnerships by saying, “We always want to partner with those who align with our values, and gender equality is one of them. Google is a great recent example with its partnership with Travel CIC. A social organisation that advocates the training and development of disadvantaged women in the travel industry. For us, promoting and associating with other businesses that have the same cause, makes for a stronger force for the change that we want to happen.”
5 Ways to Support Women in Travel in 2023
Big changes can be felt when plenty of small improvements are made. Here are some of the ways we can support women in the travel industry to strive towards gender equality at management levels.
1- Support female-led businesses
This is one of the best ways to give women more of a voice in travel, and with data showing that around 33% of travel companies are owned by women, there are plenty of opportunities to show your support.
Tikkito, as an example, was created as a ticket marketplace for the most prominent events by the biggest brands and caters to both ticket distributors and consumers. It’s already been recognised for its dominance in the global ticket sales market led by its founder and CEO, Dana Lattouf.
Supporting female-led businesses not only brings forward their innovative solutions but more importantly, brings more women into the spotlight. When their businesses are successful, their talents are highlighted and recognised. This can inspire more women to put up their own businesses, especially in the travel industry. Here’s a list of 10 other female entrepreneurs making their mark in travel.
2- Reduce barriers to entry
Women’s low representation in the management or board levels is a direct effect of various barriers to entry. Unfortunately, these barriers are often felt across industries, not just travel.
Studies have indicated that lower wages, lack of training opportunities, and discriminatory laws and practices are the most common barriers in the tourism industry. While childcare and traditional attitudes towards women returning to the workplace post-birth play a role too.
Bringing down or completely removing these barriers requires cooperation from all sides. It starts by encouraging inclusivity and improving women’s rights for social and economic changes to be felt.
Some of the suggested actions to be taken are:
- More accessible skills training: Increased investment in soft skills training and gender equality. This gives more opportunities for women to compete with the necessary skills without fear of an unfair playing field.
- Gender-neutral laws and policies: Empowers more women and provide more social and economic opportunities.
- Affordable childcare options: To allow women to return to work if they choose, limiting the progression impact on their careers.
- Equality in parental leave: When men and women are allowed to share the workload of children, both can flourish in their careers.
- Fighting harassment: Interventions are needed to tackle sexual harassment, pay inequality, and high-level hiring issues.
3- Provide more resources for women in travel
As mentioned above, there is a lack of skills training for women. However, sites like womenintraveltech.com are game-changing communities. It’s a platform for women thought leaders to share ideas, strategies, and feedback while creating innovations in travel technology.
Having more communities like this gives women the professional support system and resources needed to bring their careers forward and establish the balance missing in top leadership positions.
4- Create products for women, by women
In the tours, activities and attractions businesses, creating women-focused products can cater to an existing market, and allow women in the team to contribute.
Women-only tours are growing in popularity and positively affect female travellers, encouraging more travel and higher spending. But more importantly, it supports women-owned businesses and provides more jobs for women.
Its impact can also be felt when it comes to safety. Not all locations are safe for women to travel alone. But tours for women by women give solo travellers a higher sense of security and safety.
5- Bring in more allies
It’s easy to mistake that gender inequality is only a female problem but that can’t be any further than the truth. Gender equality affects everyone, which means everyone needs to participate to ensure equality exists and discrimination is eradicated.
Creating allies through education and company cultures that encourage the support of everyone to make changes can help make lasting changes that really matter.
In 2023, women in travel have some of the most influence as consumers and some of the least power as working professionals. And while much has been done to support gender equality, we are still not there yet. We can’t wait to see how 2023 helps women in travel to thrive, and at Livn we will play our role to help however we can.