President of CHTA Gives International Women’s Day Message

CHTA President Patricia Affonso-Dass (center) is leading Caribbean gender equality efforts

The International Women’s Day website notes that the theme, #EachforEqual, is drawn from the notion of “Collective Individualism,” noting that we are all parts of a whole where our individual actions, conversation, behaviors and mindsets can have an impact on our larger society, and we can collectively make change happen — collectively we can create a gender equal world.

This theme resonates with me particularly as I think about our industry, our association, our region and my own personal journey. I am inspired as I think about hospitality in the Caribbean and of all of the female pioneers who blazed trails across the region.

From policy makers, to jungle resort creators and luxury hotel operators, to tourism educators, directors and environmental tourism warriors, women have made their mark on every aspect of our industry’s development, selflessly setting up the rungs of the ladder that have allowed me and many others to step up, speak up and continue to support and create an environment in which all women can realize their full and true potential.

A 2019 World Travel and Tourism Council study on Driving Women’s Success notes that “across the world, Travel & Tourism has almost twice as many female employers than other sectors, proving that significant opportunities exist in the sector for women to run their own businesses.” Our industry offers rarely seen opportunities to populate and to smash glass ceilings!

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There is no shortage of entry level positions for women in hospitality, but CHTA’s push has always been, and must continue to be, to expand opportunities for women at all levels through our training programs and scholarships which, of course, also expands our industry’s talent pool.

Our recently launched CHTA Young Leaders Forum provides a vital platform for networking, exposure to the boardroom, mentorship and best practices, and our diversity and inclusion training initiatives focus not only on physical and sexual diversity but also on gender equality and the need to provide work environments that recognize and promote potential in all of its beautiful forms.

At CHTA we will continue to advocate to create and strengthen work environments that are free from all forms of gender bias, that are safe, empowering, offer equal pay for equal work and that protect against harassment in any of its forms. We will also continue to fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements. I ask all of you to join our efforts.

An equal world is an enabled world. #EachforEqual

Patricia Affonso-Dass, president of CHTA

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