Women make up for the majority of the tourism workforce in most parts of the world and yet we see a wide gender diversity, when it comes to travel technology jobs. Women who find their way into these technology-driven roles are very often underrepresented, underpaid, discriminated against and generally not offered the same potential to grow, as their male colleagues.
In the Middle East, the last five decades have seen the traditional image of a male-dominated society change with more women gaining prominent roles in various business, government, and STEM initiatives. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021, the UAE climbed 48 places over the past year, rising from the 120th to 72nd globally in Global Gender Gap Index rankings. A McKinsey report, published last year, highlighted that diverse companies perform better, hire better talent, have more engaged employees, and retain workers better than companies that do not focus on diversity and inclusion.
Technology connects people – and in a post-pandemic economy, we have witnessed the power of these digital connections. For women to be part of this world of connectivity and information means being part of a better tomorrow.
So how can travel tech companies ensure more inclusivity ?
Sarah Marron, Head of Sales EMEA for Sabre Hospitality Solutions manages an agile scrum team of three men, working on the hospitality side of the travel industry and focusing on the EMEA region. “The main objective of my role is to ensure that we deliver acute expertise, technology and insight to Sabre’s hotels customers, working closely with them to help achieve their goals. Within my broader team I can count on a very good number of women, not only in sales, but also in our research and development R&D department, and this is something I have always appreciated at Sabre.”
“Sabre, as a technology company, can count on an agile and smart mindset, and is committed to creating an inclusive environment where our team members – with their broad, rich and unique differences – bring their full selves to work, contribute their best and feel a true sense of belonging.”
“As a global employer with offices in 70 countries, Sabre has made a deliberate and intentional commitment to Inclusion and Diversity (I&D) and I am happy to be working with such a diversified company that empowers its people.”
Aswani Nambarambath, COO for TPConnects Technologies and a pioneer in the travel technology industry says, “The travel industry is one of the most technologically advanced industries and what could be better than being part of the system that enables it. At TPConnects, we work towards bridging the gender gap by ensuring appropriate training programs and initiatives that help our female employees advance in the workplace.”
“We need to enable more women on the front lines of technology as their ideas, voices and influence reflect on our businesses. They also enable a healthy and competitive business environment.”
Companies can achieve broader diversity and inspire their female employees to work towards senior positions by bridging the skills and remuneration gap.
For this, measures like implementing sessions that will allow women to engage with other women’s professionals in the industry and promote their work; Ensuring focus on recruiting efforts that will help drive diversity; Offering mentor-ship programs that will allow employers to understand and connect with their employees on a more personal level as well as boost their skills and leadership qualities, can give them a sense of purpose and direction. When women have access to new technology, digitalization can empower them with more opportunities. Increasing their participation in training on digital technologies will be the next step.
In a post-pandemic scenario, these measures play an even larger role as many women return to a larger disparity in the pay gap, the opportunity gap and the lack of senior leadership roles.
Marron adds, “We put in place many initiatives during the pandemic by investing in a host of new resources, to enhance our people’s experience, convenience and well-being. Investing in our people – both present and future – is a huge priority for us, and it is our aim to cultivate a culture that is rewarding, supporting and transparent.”
“Sabre has been promoting Work from Anywhere program, which provides members with a selection of flexible work arrangements to achieve work/life balance, improve productivity, motivation and job satisfaction. Also, to drive efforts on a wellness front, Sabre has created the Sabre Well-being Advisor Group (SWAG), a council of a dozen team members from around the world who guide conversation around well-being, capture best practices and enhance tools and programs to support employee well-being”
Tech companies are constantly innovating their products and so it is their social responsibility to have a workforce that is reflective of it. The future is female and if women are given more opportunities, that allow them to break free from stereotypes, they can push digital innovations to new, great heights.