International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year, I was particularly moved by the message of Balance for Better – as I believe it is a strong and timely call to action for accelerating gender balance in all areas of business, government, sports, the arts and financial backing of entrepreneurs.
As an entrepreneur in the travel industry, I have been very fortunate to have been surrounded by so many talented, hard-working women within our own company, the travel agency community and other travel companies. We decided many years ago to celebrate the achievements and contributions of women in our industry and are proud to have named nine senior travel executives as godmothers of our river cruise ships. For us, it is a special way of recognizing their contributions to our success and the success they have brought to the companies they founded or represent.
I am also proud of the diversity and balance within our own teams - our senior executive team is made up of 45% women and our team of 60 remarkable Cruise Managers is made up of 50% women.
Until recent years, there was a marked imbalance of women who were able to make it to the top leadership positions within most travel organizations. The good news is that based on several recent industry panels that I have participated in, I believe there is a definite shift happening. The travel industry is beginning to embrace a better balance between women and men in the top leadership positions and I truly believe this will provide an exciting new range of values and inspiration to innovate and grow our industry in the years ahead.
Gender Balance is not a women's issue, it's a business issue… we can all do our part in ensuring women’s voices are heard and their skills and ideas are given equal opportunities to grow and enrich the world around us.