Breaking The Glass Ceiling: Thai Hotels Push for Gender Equality at Women’s Hospitality Event – Hospitality Net
PHUKET, THAILAND – Gender equality is high on the agenda for Thai hotels as a hospitality event held recently in Phuket addressed the imbalance in the industry in leadership positions for highly qualified female executives.
Hosted at Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket, “Mind The Gap” gathered more than 100 industry delegates to address the challenges faced by female hoteliers in Thailand. While most hotel groups have broad policies in place to ensure inclusivity and diversity, and despite the fact that women are reported to account for more than 53% of the global hospitality workforce¹, a recent study by C9 Hotelworks found that 90% of general managers in Thai hotels are male. This means that somewhere along in their career paths, women are hitting a glass ceiling.
This is not a problem exclusive to Thailand. In fact, Thailand is generally considered to be one of the world’s more progressive countries in terms of gender equality. One quarter (25%) of Fortune 500 companies in the kingdom have women in leadership positions, compared to only 8% globally.
But why, in the 21st Century, do these figures remain so uneven in the hotel sector and what steps do companies need to take to maximise the potential of their female associates? Are the right support structures in place for women to balance a career with a family? And more worryingly, is the hotel industry still influenced by old fashioned prejudices, with powerful females considered as being “pushy” or “over-ambitious”?
Mind The Gap addressed these important questions in a series of discussions and workshops that strived to challenge traditional thinking and create workable solutions. Attendees included some of the industry’s most prominent female leaders, including company founders, directors and hotel GMs, many of whom have faced discrimination during their careers. They were joined by hospitality students and graduates who are rightly concerned about encountering issues such as gender pay gaps and sexism when they enter the industry.
Topics included the development of career paths to senior leadership roles, support and resources available for women in the hospitality industry, the value of mentoring and education, how to maintain mental wellbeing, and achieving a positive work-life balance. The half-day event was introduced by Bill Barnett, Founder & Managing Director of C9 Hotelworks, and moderated by Sumi Soorian, Executive Director of Phuket Hotels Association.
“It is a shame that we are still talking about this subject in the 21st Century,” said Sumi Soorian, Executive Director of Phuket Hotels Association. “Gender discrimination simply should not be present in the world today; we have successful female world leaders and politicians, company presidents and directors, philanthropists, scientists and so many more. Women don’t need to prove themselves anymore. And yet, nine in ten hotels general managers in Thailand are still men. Why? By hosting ‘Mind The Gap’, we wanted to push the gender agenda, ask difficult questions and force companies to take notice. Young women entering the industry today need to feel empowered and inspired; they need to be able to enjoy a meaningful and guilt-free professional career. I hope that the issues raised today will help them achieve this,” she added.
Many of the delegates also took the opportunity to share their advice with young women embarking on a career in the hotel industry. Pamela Ong, who introduced her mentorship program for women, advised attendees to “stay away from negative influences and surround yourself with a good support network of peers, friends and family”, while Sornchat Krainara urged delegates to “speak out loud [and] not underestimate yourself”. Isara Pangchen, who achieved a scholarship from Cornell University’s General Managers Program, encouraged women to “always take the chance to learn, study and improve”.
Mind The Gap was hosted by the Phuket Hotels Association, in partnership with C9 Hotelworks, Delivering Asia Communications and Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket.
For more information about the Phuket Hotels Association, please visit www.phukethotelsassociation.com.
Phuket Hotels Association members are as follows:
Absolute Twin Sands Resort & Spa, Amanpuri, Amari Phuket, Anantara Layan Phuket Resort, Anantara Mai Khao Phuket Villas, Anantara Vacation Club Mai Khao Phuket, Andara Resort & Villas, Angsana Laguna Phuket, Avista Grand Phuket Karon – MGallery, Baan Yin Dee Boutique Resort, Banyan Tree Phuket, Best Western Phuket, Boat Lagoon Resort, Burasari Phuket, Cape Sienna Phuket Gourmet Hotel & Villas, Cassia Phuket, Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket, COMO Point Yamu, Courtyard Marriott Phuket Town, Dewa Phuket, DoubleTree by Hilton Phuket Banthai Resort, Dusit, Thani Laguna Phuket, Fisherman Way Beach Resort, Four Points by Sheraton Phuket, Patong Beach, Hilton Garden Inn Phuket Bangtao, Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa, Holiday Inn Resort Phuket, HOMA, Homm Bliss Southbeach Patong, Hyatt Regency Phuket Resort, InterContinental Phuket Resort, JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa, Kata Rocks Resort & Residences, Keemala Phuket, Kudo Hotel Patong, Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort, Maikhao Dream Villa Resort & Spa, Centara Boutique Collection, Mangosteen Ayurveda & Wellness Resort, Marina Gallery Resort – Kacha – Kalim bay, Meliá Phuket Mai Khao, My Beach Hotel, Narai Mai Khao Resort, Novotel Phuket Kamala Beach, Paresa Resort, Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa, Merlin Beach, Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa, Nai Yang Beach, Pullman Phuket Arcadia Naithon Beach, Pullman Phuket Panwa Beach Resort, Rayaburi Hotel Patong, Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa, Rosewood Phuket, SAii Laguna Phuket, Six Senses Yao Noi, Stay Wellbeing & Lifestyle Resort, Thanyapura Sports Hotel, The AIM Patong Hotel, The Bell Pool Villa Resort, The Boathouse Phuket, The Lokal, The Nai Harn, The Naka Island, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Phuket, The Pavilions Phuket, The Shore at Katathani, The Slate, Phuket, The Surin Phuket, The Village Coconut Island, The Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa, Phuket, Trisara, Twinpalms MontAzure, Twinpalms Phuket, Villa PhuKhao, Wyndham Grand Nai Harn Beach Phuket, Wyndham Grand Phuket Kalim Bay
About Phuket Hotels Association
The Phuket Hotels Association is a nonprofit organization comprising a broad spectrum of hotels. Our goal is to promote a well-rounded, dynamic picture of Phuket to travelers from around the world by celebrating the diversity of Phuket’s natural resources and vibrant culture, while at the same time providing educational scholarships, environmental initiatives and other community-based activities to help nuture and develop Phuket’s standing as one of the world’s most sought-after destinations.
Phuket Hotels Association members are as follows:
Absolute Twin Sands Resort, Amanpuri, Amari Phuket, Amatara Resort & Wellness, Anantara Layan Phuket Resort, Anantara Maikhao Phuket Villas, Anantara Vacation Club Maikhao Phuket, Andara Resort & Villas, Angsana Laguna Phuket, Angsana Villas Resort Phuket, Banyan Tree Phuket, Burasari Resort Phuket, Cape Sienna Hotels & Villas, Centara Grand Beach Resort, Club Med Phuket, COMO Point Yamu, Dewa Nai Yang, Dream Phuket Hotel & Spa, Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket, Grand Mercure Phuket Patong, Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa, Holiday Inn Maikhao, Holiday Inn Resort Phuket Patong, Hyatt Regency Phuket Resort, Impiana Resort Patong, InterContinental Phuket Resort, JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa, Kata Rocks, Keemala, Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort, Maikhao Dream Villa Resort & Spa, Manathai Surin Phuket, Millennium Resort Patong Phuket, Movenpick Resort Bangtao Beach Phuket, Novotel Phuket Kamala Beach, Novotel Phuket Phokeethra, Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort, Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort, Paresa Resort, Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa Merlin Beach, Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa Nai Yang Beach, Pullman Phuket Arcadia Naithon Beach, Pullman Phuket Panwa Beach Resort, Ramada Plaza Chaofa, Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa, Rosewood Phuket, SALA Phuket Resort & Spa, Serenity Resort and Residences, Splash Beach Resort, Swissotel Resort Phuket Patong Beach, Thanyapura Sports Hotel, The Bell Pool Villa Resort, The Boathouse Phuket, The Clover Hotel Patong, The Nai Harn Phuket, The Naka Island, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, The Nature Phuket, The Pavilions Phuket, The Slate, The Surin, The Village Coconut Island, The Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa Phuket, Trisara, Twinpalms MontAzure, Twinpalms Phuket, U Zenmaya Phuket, Wyndham Grand Phuket Kalim Bay, Wyndham Sea Pearl Resort Phuket.