Tourism campaigner Tricia Barnett made a plea to members of The Tourism Society to work towards gender equality, as an essential element of sustainability.
Talking to the Tourism Symposium during a debate about sustainable tourism, she said: “We can’t have sustainability without gender equality.”
A director of sustainability charity Tourism Concern from 1991 to 2011, Barnett is now the co-creator of Equality in Tourism, which campaigns for gender equality in tourism across the world.
She highlighted a major UK report last week which said many top male executives were making feeble excuses for not having women at boardroom level – and travel is also failing to appoint enough women in senior roles or close the gender pay gap.
“It’s not 1918, it’s 2018 – I should not have to be arguing these points,” she told the delegates.
She urged tourism firms to carry out gender audits – both inhouse and with suppliers – and to look at training, strategy and policy to change the culture about equality and sustainability.
Geoffrey Lipman – co-founder of the climate change project SUNx Strong Universal Network – agreed with Barnett, saying board rooms should have a 50-50 split between men and women.
He said gender equality and environmental impacts should be part of every company’s balance sheet.
Formerly a boss at IATA, the UNWTO and the WTTC, Lipman now campaigns about the threat of climate change.
He warned delegates: “If we don’t fix it, our grandkids will freeze or fry.
“Climate is an overarching issue that needs to be taken into account – it needs to go into your strategy.”