In today’s society, everyone understands that gender should not get in the way of performing a job. Yet, many fields are still widely male-dominated. And the event industry is no exception.
Over the last few years, the conversation about gender and the need for women leaders has become increasingly popular. From the creation of all-female corporate events and companies to initiatives aimed at increasing women’s participation in the decision-making world, many steps have already been taken in the right direction. As a result, the number of women attendees at executive events has increased over the past few years.
The Bizzabo Blog has recently published their annual ‘Gender Diversity & Inclusion in Events Report’ gathering data from thousands of executive events in 58 countries between 2013 and 2019.
In 2019, the numbers showed an increase in women’s participation with the US and Canada leading as most diverse with a 64% male versus 36% female engagement. The UK made it to third place, accounting for 69% male versus 31% female speakers.
In 2018, Bizzabo reported 70% of event speakers to be male proving that, while the gap in gender equality is being addressed, it is still evident and is not being closed fast enough.
When looking at the causes of this gender gap, a few questions come to mind: is there a lack of interest from women in joining corporate events, or are they simply not given enough space in the business world?
When looking at the gender gap in corporate America, we can find that women account for only 6% of CEOs at the 500 largest American companies. While data show an increase of 6% between 2018 and 2019, at this rate, it will take the US over 40 years to seriously fill the gender gap.
As far as interest in joining corporate events, surveys show that men and women approach B2Bs differently. While most men attendees place more emphasis on networking with suppliers and discovering new technology, women claim to be more attracted to self-development and self-actualization. Notwithstanding, while it might be worthwhile to consider the collateral reasons standing in the way of female participation in executive events, it is important to acknowledge this gender gap is just a reflection of the reality of the business world.
The Ortus Club, a leading marketing company that hosts corporate events for C-level executives to converse freely around topical subjects, takes the matter of diversity seriously.
While their roundtables reportedly accounted for roughly 20% of female attendees in 2018, there has been an increase in female participation over the past two years. In total, out of the 7100 Ortus event attendees so far, only 1357 were women.
The Ortus Club’s commitment to increase female participation in the business world is already showing results. With a team that is over 80% female, the company also partners with women moderators and makes an effort to invite female executives from all industries to participate in their events. Furthermore, the company is planning to run a series of interviews with women in C-level positions to gather their thoughts on their role in the corporate world.
Another example of a company striving for diversity is WomenKind. Besides being 100% female-led, this brand experience and content creation agency is committed to catering for the needs of female consumers.
The admirable effort of companies like The Ortus Club and WomenKind should be an inspiration for organizations worldwide: while acknowledging the problem is a necessary first step, a genuine solution will only come from a conscious and collective effort aiming for that 50/50 female-male representation.