Fighting For Inequality?

Our Commercial Director is all too familiar with the battle women face in the workplace to gain the same status, pay and respect as their male counterparts, but sees the current issues highlighted as wholly missing the point!

Nicky Whyman, Commercial Director writes:

“I recently read an article about the appalling representation of women speaking at the Northern Powerhouse Conference, and as somebody who books speakers for conferences on a daily basis I can tell you that never, do I begin the search by deciding on which gender best fits my criteria. In fact, there’s not a point during the selection, proposal or booking process, where I wonder to myself should I be booking a male or a female for this?! My proposal and recommendations will always be based on an individual’s suitability for the occasion, based on what the client is hoping to get out of it.

Event Industry views - fighting for inequality

“The events industry is actually dominated, in terms of sheer numbers, by women, though according to eventsuncovered.tv, the majority of leaders in the industry are men. This is clearly an issue to be addressed but the way to fix this is just not as simple as handing out leadership roles to women instead of men to even out the playing field – that is flawed on far too many levels to even begin typing!

“This is no different. The article I read featured descriptions of the ‘embarrassing’ 13% of speakers at the event, which celebrates the best business leaders in the North of England, quoting industry experts calling it ‘disappointing’ and an MP whose message was ‘women must be involved at every level’.

“My main problem with this rhetoric is that if we keep shouting about the special treatment we need to be heard and to succeed, if we continue to ‘slam’ somebody for choosing the male alternative, we’re actually presenting ourselves to the world as the weaker half of the population, who need a little extra opportunity to succeed and a bigger stage to be heard – how can we expect to be considered equal?

“The way I overcame the challenges facing me in the workplace was by emphasising my own ability, rather than try to isolate myself as entitled to different treatment. There are many ways to ensure you’re moving forward in your career and reach your goals – here are some tips based on my personal experience:

  1. Seek out a mentor who is a respected specialist in their area. Don’t underestimate the power of approaching someone and asking for their help!
  2. Don’t let your current position limit you – join and attend networking groups with job roles/membership that you aspire to.
  3. Increase your skill and knowledge levels with specialised training – ask those in the positions you aspire to what they recommend.
  4. If you are specifically being harassed or discriminated against then consider taking the appropriate steps. Don’t expect it to automatically blow over and don’t be tempted to just leave– take professional advice from a trusted 3rd party source before taking action.

“I’ll end on this final thought, the organiser confirmed that while they agreed that women are underrepresented, they’d actually approached companies who had decided upon a representative for themselves… Maybe the senior female leaders were too busy to RSVP?!”


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