Take action towards gender equality in the events industry

By IMEX Group

4 mins

Why gender equality in events is more important than ever

‘We’ve always seen gender balance and equality as a priority, but I think we’ve passed a tipping point’ says Dr Mara Harvey, Head Global UHNW Germany, Austria, Italy of UBS Switzerland AG. Dr Harvey discovered that a 10 percent pay gay between men and women can lead to an almost 40 percent wealth gap over a lifetime. 

For women in the events industry, a sector with a predominantly female workforce, this disparity is alarming. So how can we better advocate for women and take action that drives change? 

Mind the (pay) gap

Harvey’s work in the financial industry has led her to explore the profound differences in the ways men and women approach wealth. Gender pay gaps, she says, create massive wealth gaps. How big is the gap and how does this impact a women over her lifetime? Dr Harvey explains: “I asked my colleagues in the Chief Investment Office to add it all up for me: How much in hard dollars does a pay gap result in by the time you’re retired? It wasn’t a pretty picture. We ran a simulation with various assumptions of course and factored in a 10 percent pay gap of a woman versus a man and we found out that a 10 percent pay gap can lead to an almost 40 percent wealth gap over a lifetime.”

Join the debate at She Means Business

She Means Business is an education program on diversity, gender equality and female empowerment, held twice a year at IMEX. Click the links below to find out more about She Means Business.

Events professionals attending She Means Business can look forward to lively debate on crucial and current issues around gender equality, women in business and women in events. She Means Business is not just for women in business and events, but also their male counterparts.

Be part of the conversation on gender equality and much more at She Means Business - part of our free IMEX education program!

Know your worth

Women in events should be encouraged to know their worth. Salary negotiation can be challenging but it helps to have people on your side who will advocate for you. Research the market, perfect a confident pitch, and frame your value in terms of what you can offer to a business. Some companies discourage employees from discussing their salaries but unless this is expressly forbidden in your contract, it may prove a useful exercise and negotiation tool.

Dr Harvey says: “I believe the issue we have pinpointed and quantified is a societal issue. We need to raise awareness for every woman out there, especially for every young woman starting her career, about how important it is to know the impact a pay gap can have on her wealth creation. Also, to know what the true cost of flexible work time is, the true cost of discontinuity of her career, the true impact of longevity and the importance of planning for this longevity.

“We want to spark industry debate. We want other people to engage in this dialogue as well and say we all have a role to play in solving these problems.”

Champion female-centric initiatives

Through female-centric initiatives, positive steps are being taken to address the gender pay gap and help tackle wider issues. Dr Harvey says: “When we launched our initiative ‘UBS Unique’ to better serve women and to empower them to really make the most of their wealth, we realised that the challenges and the opportunities go far beyond the boundaries of the focus of our industry and wealth management, strictly speaking.

“We decided to put out a societal pledge for two things: First and foremost we said we would like to empower one million women globally to take better control of their finances. But most importantly we realised, when women think about investing very often they want to know how they can have a positive impact with their wealth. So we asked ourselves: Could we not ‘hit two birds with one stone’? By better serving women and empowering them to manage their wealth, if they focus on more sustainability related topics, we can engage private capital much more strongly in sustainability issues.”

Collaborate to drive change

Collaboration is the watch word here with UBS Unique partnering with The Female Quotient, a female-owned business committed to advancing equality in the workplace, at the World Economic Forum.

“The Female Quotient, driven by Shelley Zalis, works with CEOs and senior management on all levels of organisations, but also with conferences to make more women visible as speakers to bring more balanced participation in every dimension,” says Dr Harvey.

“Shelley has created Equality Lounges which are visible and prominent on some of the main conferencing platforms globally. We created a partnership with the TFQ Equality Lounge in order to spark these conversations outside the World Economic Forum with many of the women who were there in addition to the female WEF delegates. Many of the very prominent men had their spouses with them and a lot of the women did not participate in the main conferences but were very engaged in all of the activities that took place all around the WEF during that week.”

She Means Business is brought to you by IMEX and tw magazine, supported by MPI. Dr Mara Harvey’s quotes were originally published in an interview by tw magazine.

About the author

IMEX brings the global meetings and events community together to power profitable connections, foster innovation, spark inspiration, and propel purposeful progress at two world-leading trade shows, IMEX Frankfurt and IMEX America.

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