Conference News January 2018 - Page 24

24 Cover Story Nearly one in five women believe they have been discriminated against must find ways to address mothers returning to work by implementing policies including: flexible working hours and family friendly benefits such as childcare vouchers into their packages. Nearly one in five women believed they had been discriminated against in their career, according to the survey results, with 32% of women identifying a lack of role models as a key factor holding back their career progression. Other key statistics to emerge included more than half (53%) of the total 495 industry professionals polled feeling that a more diverse workforce would deliver a “better decision-making process”, and “better brand image”; and “better business performance” both polling strongly at 42%. Sharpe said that the aim of the survey was to highlight how organisations could maximise the potential of their female talent through overcoming challenges and using best practice. To the question of whether quotas for women should be introduce at any point in the recruitment cycle, only 33% of those women surveyed were in favour (and just 7% of the men polled) and Sharpe and her panel were unanimous in the view that, ”A job should be awarded on merit and not to meet gender targets”. However, the watchword for her was setting a ‘target’ for more equality of opportunity rather than going down the ‘quota’ route. “As much as I am passionate about equality, I don’t believe in positive discrimination. Women should be appointed on merit not quotas,” said Sharpe. The report’s conclusion was that the events industry was making progress, albeit there was still room for improvement on the issue. A panel discussion at the RIBA event, involving Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group; Dawn Repoli, executive director and COO of WINiT from the USA; Jo Austin, sales director at Lime Venue portfolio; and Claudia Jackson, vice-president at BCD Travel for global project management organisation and performance solutions, gave further perspectives from personal experience on how to maximise opportunities for women in events, and covered issues such as effective part-time working and the importance of mentoring. Why do you think women are under represented at senior level? Traditional bias Maternity leave issues Work environment Men recruit men Lack of encouragement Issues maintaining work/ life balance 0 % 10 % 20 % 30 % 40 % 50 % 60 % 70 % 80 % 90 % Answer Choices Traditional bias 69.34% 147 Maternity leave issues 33.96% 72 Work environment 32.08% 68 Men recruit men 30.66% 65 Lack of encouragement 39.62% 84 Issues maintaining work/life balance 42.48% 90 100 %