February 6, 2018, marked 100 years since the first women secured the right to vote in the UK. A century on, purposeful discussions on achieving gender equality are still underway today. The international #metoo movement has only just begun; recent national headlines about the Presidents Club dinner revealed by a Financial Times investigation put women's treatment in the workplace in question.
Whilst more sexual harassment allegations are being reported in the media, there's also a magnitude of positive reaction coming from industry leaders.
Perhaps directly targeting exhibitors at ICE Totally Gaming who would previously hire women to work at their stands in revealing outfits, organisers of the event sent delegates a letter reminding them of the importance for staff of all genders to be represented with equal respect. The chief executive of the Gambling Commission, Sarah Harrison also put pressure on the betting industry by saying "Any future participation by the Gambling Commission in events like this will depend on there being change." These came days after Formula 1 said that 'Grid girls' will no longer be used by F1 from the start of the 2018 World Championship season. Just a couple of days before that, the Professional Darts Corporation announced that a long-established practice of women escorting male players to the stage will be abandoned, starting with this weekend's masters in Milton Keynes.
Within the events industry, there's still a lot we can do to ensure everyone involved in the event organising cycle are treated fairly and safely, regardless of their gender and seniority. When you're hiring temporary staff, make sure they are aware of your company's anti-sexual harassment policy and create a safe space for people to speak up in a situation they don't feel comfortable with. If you're in a leadership role, encourage gender balance in all levels of management. Organisational policies are just some of many things that need to be changed in order to achieve gender equality completely in everyone's workplace.
What do you think? Do you have any opinion about this? Please send me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org, I'd love to hear from you.