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NEWS 1


YOU NEED TO KNOW


at a glance


Business consultancy Beyond Analysis looked at a cross-section of 28 large and small British travel companies to scrutinise gender diversity in the industry. It found:


7 0 ITT Conference panellists, from left: Jeanette


Harper, Avis Budget; Karen Gill, Everywoman; Richard Calvert, Specialist Leisure Group; and Paul Alexander, Beyond Analysis. Inset: Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways


Industry in the spotlight over boardroom equality


Amie Keeley and Ian Taylor


Demands for gender equality struck at the heart of the industry this week as the head of Qatar Airways provoked a storm by suggesting only a man could run his airline and a survey revealed that one in four major travel companies have no women on their boards.


Qatar chief executive Akbar Al


Baker, who took over as chairman of airline association Iata this week, responded to a question about “the woeful representation of women in Middle East aviation” at Iata’s annual general meeting by saying: “It [Qatar] has to be led by a man because it is a very challenging position.”


Al Baker’s comment drew widespread condemnation, including from other airline bosses. Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said employing women in leadership roles “is the right business thing to do and the right moral thing to do”. Flybe chief executive Christine Ourmières-Widener, who joined Iata’s board of governors this week as its only woman, said: “Maybe we need to be more creative [in advancing women].” Delegates at the Institute of


Travel & Tourism conference in Sicily were shown results of a study of 28 British travel companies, “large and small”, that found one-quarter had no female board representatives and only one had a female chief executive. The study, by business and data


4 travelweekly.co.uk 7 June 2018


“Employing women in leadership roles is the right business and moral thing to do”


automation consultancy Beyond Analysis, found women comprised only 20% of the board members of the operators, airlines and cruise lines surveyed, and that none had female sales or finance directors. Beyond Analysis chief executive


Paul Alexander said: “Female representation falls into a few key areas – legal, human resources and strategy – rather than commercial operations. A lot of excuses are made for not appointing women, [but] you’re either not looking in the right places or you don’t know where to look.”


companies have no female members on their boards


female sales or finance directors


20% 1


70% female chief executive


of board members are women


of companies with 12 or more board


members have no more than two women on their boards


Richard Calvert, chief executive of Shearings Holidays’ parent Specialist Leisure Group, told the conference the industry should not “beat itself up” over equality. He named a list of senior women


in the sector including his firm’s managing director Jane Atkins. But Calvert said only two of 27 candidates for the role of chief financial officer at the company had been women. Al Baker responded with


a statement insisting: “Qatar Airways firmly believes in gender equality in the workplace and our airline has been a pioneer in our region in this regard – as the first airline to employ female pilots, as one of the first to train and employ female engineers, and with females represented through to senior vice-president positions.”


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