Unfortunately, in society there is still a lot of work to do, that work has to start with overcoming limiting gender stereotypes which are formed really early in life. Still today when primary school children are asked to draw pictures of doctors and nurses they draw doctors as men and nurses as women, and if we are honest, even as adults many of do the same when we picture these roles in our heads. This unconscious and limiting bias is going to take a long, long time to undo and we all have a role in that. A massive part of that having more women in leadership positions or within traditionally male dominated roles like technology, data and engineering.
Additionally, we need to change how genders are represented in media. As an example of reinforcing gender stereotypes, in the UK, the government created a campaign to encourage people to stay home through the pandemic and it showed a sexist, old fashioned scene of a woman homeschooling, cooking and cleaning for the family whilst the man of the house watched TV – the advert was subsequently banned but the fact that it made it to air shows that this bias is present and sadly it reflects reality for many people. As a marketer I take responsibility for representing diversity in all its forms very seriously.
The reality is that today, whilst things are improving, women’s careers can be limited by bearing more of the burden of family and household responsibilities and it can feel too much to shoulder that and have a career. The pandemic has actually highlighted that the additional demands of things like homeschooling disproportionately affected women with children and they have been much more likely to revert to old stereotypes and reduce working hours to cope. Within TUI I think we have an inclusive culture that values diversity but we can’t be immune from this unconscious bias, it’s too deeply engrained in society. We also do not yet have equal representation of women in leadership positions. We are improving, but it’s a work in progress for us as much as the rest of society.