Welcome to another edition of Aventri's Connect Weekly column, where we share the top five news stories from the week that today's meeting and events planners should know. We aim to cover everything from the worlds of events, technology, business, marketing, social media, travel, hospitality and beyond.
This special edition of Connect Weekly is in honor of International Women's Day (IWD) today! Occurring annually on March 8, IWD is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. This year's theme is #BalanceforBetter, which aims to remind the world that balance is not a women's issue, it's a business issue.
Instead of sharing the top five stories from the week, we are sharing five key stories from the past year that covered how the meeting and event industry has learned about various gender disparities and what they're doing to improve upon them.
Gender Pay Gap in the Events Industry
April 2018 — Is income inequity a reality in the business-events industry? Last year, it was reported that women respondents to Convene’s Annual Salary Survey earned 22 percent less than male respondents, a disparity that was similar to results in previous surveys. The survey is by no means definitive, but it’s a representative sample of the overall event-professional population. And while 62 percent said that they believe women are paid less than men in the events industry (which overlaps hospitality companies and destination-marketing organizations), many admitted that they suspect that’s the case, but they just don’t know for sure. Read more.
Planners Work to Fix the Event Industry’s Sexual Harassment Problem
May 2018 — The meetings industry represents the perfect storm when it comes to the kind of sexual harassment that sparked the #MeToo movement. Meetings and conventions bring together hundreds, if not thousands, of men and women who stay in hotels and socialize at receptions and networking sessions fueled by alcohol—lots of alcohol. The possibilities for bad behavior are nearly endless. As Annette Gregg, regional senior vice president for AlliedPRA and a member of Meeting Professionals International’s board, put it, “We have a large female workforce, we produce thousands of events a year, you get open bars and people on the road.” AlliedPRA has responded to #MeToo with a white paper aimed specifically at sexual harassment. It augments the company’s employee manual on discrimination and safe environments, Gregg said. Read more.
5 Takeaways from IMEX’s New She Means Business Conference
June 2018 — As we were designing the She Means Business conference for IMEX in Frankfurt 2018 with tw tagungswirtschaft, we had an inkling of the excitement that could be generated given the enthusiastic response to the idea, but we didn’t predict the full effect of having over 350 women and men together on the actual day. The group had enough positive energy to light up Frankfurt! Bringing together all types of women—from meetings industry veterans and newbies to business and U.N. leaders, and even an astronaut and a fighter pilot—the focus was on empowering each other as individuals and discussing how we can work together as an industry to build more equity in the workplace around opportunity, leadership, and pay. Read more.
#MeetingsToo: Survey Reveals Widespread Sexual Harrassment
August 2018 — A MeetingsNet survey conducted in June, asked meeting planners and suppliers about their experiences around sexual harassment in the workplace. 40 percent of respondents believe that those involved with the meetings industry are even more at risk than those in the working world at large, due to what Courtney Stanley, owner, CS Consulting, calls a “perfectstorm” of late-night events, free-flowing alcohol, and people being away from their families and everyday work life. But harassment stems from more than just opportunity and environment—and most respondents (60 percent) said it’s no more prevalent in the meetings industry than in any other workplace setting. Read more.
Changing the Faces We See at Conferences Starts with Organizers
November 2018 — Ever find yourself in this position? You’re at a conference and look at the list of panels and find the photos of the speakers look remarkably similar. A recent study found that over the past five years, two thirds of conference speakers were all male. So what can you do to change that statistic? If you are a thought leader in your industry, you can effect change by refusing to participate in panels that aren't diverse. You can then amplify and support the conferences and events that make diversity a priority. But the biggest changes start at the top. If you are regularly organizing conferences, there are several ways to make sure that a commitment to diversity and inclusion isn’t just lip service. Read more.