This feature is dedicated to our #NoChangeNoFuture initiative. From the Women's March, to Australia voting yes to same sex marriage, and the #MeToo movement, 2017 taught us to look beyond ourselves and come together as a collective of powerful women who are writing our own history. Join us as we cancel setting one-dimensional personal resolutions this January and commit to being the change we want to see. Because without change, there is no future.
I used to live in New York where I was part of a national not-for-profit called Women Chefs and Restaurateurs that had been around for over 15 years, supporting women in the industry. In 2016, I moved back to Australia and was surprised to find that women made up over 50 percent of the hospitality industry — but less than 10 percent filled senior management positions, and there were no organisations working to change this.
In Australia, women made up over 50 percent of the hospitality industry — but less than 10 percent filled senior management positions.
So, a group of like-minded women came together from all facets of the industry, and Women in Hospitality (WOHO) was born. We're a community organisation that aims to foster career development for women in the industry. Seeing as the gender gap is rife in all areas, we want to campaign for change and equality. Knowledge is power, and by sharing it between females in operations, beverage, kitchens, food media and producers, we aim to empower more women to grow their knowledge and develop their careers.
The industry is very male dominated, and as a result, many women lack the confidence to back themselves — whether it be in taking new job opportunities, stepping into the limelight or asking for flexible working conditions so they can balance their personal and professional lives. In the hospitality sector, women's pay lags behind men's by 7.5 percent. That is simply not good enough, and it'll take a concerted effort from both employers and employees to correct.
The industry is very male dominated, and as a result, many women lack the confidence to back themselves.
Given my background in finance, the insight I have had into the experience of women asking for pay rises has been pretty shocking. That's why organisations like WOHO are so important moving forward — they offer support networks and practical skills to give women the confidence to recognise what they are worth, and the skills to be able to articulate it clearly to their professional peers. Women in Hospitality is about celebrating all the wonderful women in our industry, bringing them together and encouraging them to support one another. Many of these relationships are formed organically through our events.
We also have a more formal mentoring program developed by Jane Strode, which sees mentees spending 18 contact hours over three months with amazing industry stalwarts including Christine Manfield, Mike Bennie, Jemma Whiteman, Nadine Ingram and Danielle Alvarez. While we are still based only in Sydney at the moment, we will be growing nationally this year — in the hope that we can empower women in hospitality across all of Australia.
For our Sydney based supporters, we are holding a big celebration for International Women's Day on March 18 at the Porteno Event space on Cleveland Street. Tickets can be purchased here.