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Women call for more flexibility from employers

SENIOR women in the travel industry have called for employers to be more flexible after Government figures revealed women’s pay still seriously lags behind men’s.


A Women at Work report, out this week, commissioned by Prime Minister Tony Blair, showed the UK’s gender pay gap is costing up to £23 million annually in lost productivity and wasted talent. It found full-time women workers are paid 17% less than men based on mean hourly earnings.


Travel Weekly canvassed opinions at this week’s Shine awards for women’s achievements in travel, tourism and hospitality.


Argo Holidays sales and marketing director Kathryn Beadle said women are still put off climbing the career ladder because employers do not offer family-friendly working conditions.


“There needs to be more flexibility at the top so women can do well and have children,” Beadle said. “It’s impossible to have women in very responsible positions who are only available three days a week.”


Royal Caribbean Cruise Line senior vice-president Susan Hooper, who has two children, claimed more flexibility is needed for both sexes.


“We need a work environment geared to spending time at home. We should have more flexibility for males and females,” she said.


The cruiseline’s sales and marketing director Jo Rzymowska questioned whether women’s pay lagged behind because companies failed to provide support for women wanting to combine work and family commitments, or because women simply did not pursue senior positions after having children.


Thomas Cook director of e-commerce Carol Dray said: “You just need to prove you deserve what you’re paid.” Meanwhile, Bales Worldwide managing director Mandy Nickerson admitted women “are sometimes not as hungry to get to the top” but could earn the same as men if they “stand up to be counted”.


The Network managing director Jane Dyson said: “A woman working part-time will maximise every hour that she works to prove herself.”


 


On the web


The Fawcett Society: www.fawcettsociety.org.uk
Women and Work Commission: www.womenandequalityunit.gov.uk/women_work_commission/


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