As if planning and executing events weren’t hard enough, a number of factors conspire to make the job even more difficult for women. The latest Women in Events survey, conducted this past July, uncovered a number of challenges faced by women and the best ways to overcome them. More information will appear in our August/September issue. In the meantime, here’s a preview of what we found:
Women feel they aren’t being taken seriously: An astounding 20 percent of respondents indicated they felt their work isn’t taken seriously. “I think there’s still a tendency for people to look at women as the administrative staff instead of show management,” wrote one respondent. “On occasion you still get, ‘Can I talk to the show manager?’ asked with an undertone of ‘Who is the MAN in charge?’”
Another wrote, “Some men and some women will treat you as less than a professional. Often times executives will assume that your role at the event is to serve the food or beverages.”
The glass ceiling exists: Yes, it’s there, according to a whopping 73 percent of respondents, even in our industry, where women succeed, but men still hold the majority of executive positions. “Women are still paid less, expected to donate their time ‘for the good of the community’ and expected to be ‘mother’ to scads of volunteers,” wrote one woman. Another claimed that she knows for a fact that her male colleagues make more than she does even though they have the same responsibilities.
Women are in the drivers seat: You can’t keep a good woman down, or so it seems. According to 17 percent of respondents, women who are bold, courageous and have confidence will succeed, and women have attained leadership positions at venues, brands and other decision-making roles, and the number of women-owned agencies and businesses is on the rise. “I feel women are gaining more and respect each day,” wrote one woman. “I believe we are seen as leaders in the industry,” wrote another. Amen, sisters!