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Women growing among hospitality leadership

AHLA Foundation releases annual benchmark report.

WASHINGTON – Representation of women within hospitality leadership continues to increase, with women gaining some ground at the CEO and president levels, according to a new report commissioned by the AHLA Foundation and conducted by Penn State’s School of Hospitality Management.
The AHLA Foundation is a philanthropic organization that aims to inspire, support, and advance the hospitality workforce. The 2023 “Women in Hospitality” research report focuses on evaluating the state of women’s representation in leadership in the hotel industry.
The findings indicate that in 2022 the hospitality industry made steady, incremental progress toward women’s advancement to executive leadership roles, while underscoring areas of opportunity to further diversify representation across industry fields.
Key findings include:
  • Women now hold one in four of all chief-level positions at hotel companies, although mostly in human resources and sales/marketing roles.
  • At the director level, women now occupy an equal number of positions as men. Women have experienced gains in leadership positions in hospitality investment and development since 2019, going from one woman for every 10 men to one woman for every 7.9 men.
  • Women held 24% of the podium spots at hotel investment conferences, up from 16% in 2017.
  • On the main stage, 37% of prime speaking spots in 2022 went to women – up from 22% just a year earlier in 2021.
This is the sixth annual benchmark report commissioned by the AHLA Foundation. Researchers under the direction of Phillip Jolly, PhD, assistant professor of hospitality management at Penn State, reviewed publicly available data spanning more than 6,000 individuals from 701 companies and more than 7,000 hotel investment conference attendees.
“We want to see equity for women at the leadership level and across the hotel industry, and this progress is encouraging,” said AHLA Foundation President Anna Blue. “Representation is only the first step. We see growing efforts by our members to prioritize intersectional leadership, inclusion, and belonging for women in the industry.”
“Although we must continue to increase representation of women leaders in hospitality, it’s encouraging that the hotel industry is steadfastly working together to address longstanding inequities. This report shows that change is possible,” said Donna Quadri, PhD, Marvin Ashner director of the Penn State University School of Hospitality Management.
Tatiana Rokou

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