Does the events industry need more gender/ age equality?


(Belinda Booker) #1

The International Association of Conference Centres (IACC) has just announced that, with its newly-elected members, it has created the youngest and most gender equal board in the association’s history. It has elected three new female members. The average age of the board is now 43 (the youngest member is 28).

Is our industry crying out for more of this? Is the leadership of your company made up of age 50+ white, men? Is it good to inject a little youth or should we be putting experience first?


(Melissa Saunders) #2

Good to hear. I think it’s about getting a balance. There’s no substitute for experience and a diverse board can only be a good thing. Youth can bring fresh thinking so I believe we definitely need a balance. Ultimately I think people should be hired because they’re the best person for that job depending on what specific criteria is required e.g. knowledge, experience, qualifications etc.


(Belinda Booker) #3

I agree. It’s good to hear all voices and make sure everyone’s interests are represented. However, I think our elders have a lot to contribute - their experience is invaluable so they shouldn’t be chucked on scrap heap in favour of young whippersnappers!


(Richard Goodwin) #4

A lot of it starts with the people coming in at below Director level. If there are no well trained younger people of all genders, ages and ethnicities coming through then it is inevitable that board members will look the same everywhere. This needs investment in recruitment and training.


(Belinda Booker) #5

This is true, but historically, while event management has been a female dominated industry in the lower ranks, men have always been in the power positions.


(Melissa Saunders) #6

Entrepreneurs over 50 are powering the UK economy according to this: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6361248981867208704/ so yay for the 50+ but yes to diversity overall.


(Belinda Booker) #7

Interesting. There’s a better article about it here: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/dec/07/older-entrepreneurs-employ-more-staff-than-start-ups-run-by-younger-people
It says, “This age group is setting up and running their own businesses at a faster rate than any other age group.” Good for them!


(Richard Goodwin) #8

What is the cause of the glass ceiling Belinda?


(Belinda Booker) #9

Well, I think it’s the same as in any industry. Women take time out to have kids and lose momentum in their career progression. I think times are starting to change now, however, with more support being given upon their return, better options for paternity/maternity leave sharing and more scope to work flexibly. M&IT did a very good article about it a couple of years ago:


(Melissa Saunders) #10

Good to hear!


(Belinda Booker) #11

Further news in on this topic - PCMA (the Professional Convention Management Association) has signed up more than 50 senior executives to its newly-launched ‘Ascent CEO Promise’ to create more inclusive and diverse workplaces and events.

Those who sign the CEO Promise commit to three initial goals:

We will make our workplaces and events open and trusting settings.
We will provide education on barriers to inclusivity, including unconscious bias.
We will share what we know, what we learn and what needs improvement.

Sherrif Karamat, COO of the organisation said: “The momentum tells us that industry leaders understand that there is work to do, and that they’re ready to do it. Greater inclusion will foster new voices to strengthen our leadership, our businesses, and our world.’’

They will also be developing a series of webinars around “unconscious bias” that can be used in the workplace.