On the occassion of International Women's Day 2021, Accor SE Asia has revealed that it has achieved 45% of women in its leadership team, as it commits to gender equality. 

In a press release, Garth Simmons, CEO Accor SE Asia, Japan and South Korea said: "We are at a pivotal moment in history, with the #MeToo movement showing the prevalence of harassment and violence against women, and the best way to combat this is to ensure we have equal representation of women in positions of leadership across the workplace and the community."

Since 2012, Accor has put in place a women’s support and mentoring network, now called RiiSE, which promotes diversity as a means of driving collective performance. RiiSE engages both women and men in the group to work together, using mentoring, training, education and conferences to fight stereotypes and violence against women and promote diversity and inclusion.

Today, Simmons' executive committee consists of five women and six men. "I have always believed that gender equity leads to a richness of ideas and greater collaboration and performance," he said.

He acknowledges that while his leadership committee is gender-balanced, more needs to be done to ensure equal representation of women across the group, especially in the area of Operations.

On the corporate side of the business, the heads of  Corporate Finance, Legal, Talent & Culture (HR), Commercial and Communications teams are women. In the corporate offices, 57.5% of staff are women and 56.4% of middle managers are women, so there is a strong pipeline of women coming up through the organisation at a corporate level.

However, there is still a predominance of men in the operational side of the business. While women make up 40.5% of staff at the hotel level, they represent only 14% of hotel General Managers. Hence, further action must be taken to encourage more women to take up the role of General Manager at a hotel level. 

On that note, Simmons shared that he has asked the teams across SE Asia, Japan & South Korea to "double down on their efforts to ensure women are offered equal opportunities across all levels of the business and we will particularly focus on fostering more female General Managers across the hub.”

In a post-Covid world, increased flexibility for both women and men will help to break down existing bias against women who traditionally have taken more time off to look after their families.

Simmons said: "As the father of two daughters, I want to make sure they grow up in a world where everyone is treated with dignity and respect and offered equal access to opportunities. Working across 12 countries in Asia, I have seen first-hand how poverty and inaccessibility can foster gender-based inequality and I am deeply committed to creating an environment where we can bring about real change. In particular, we must promote and mentor women and engage in community projects that provide support and education to disadvantaged women and girls."

Apart from committing to gender equality on its leadership teams, as one of the ten founding signatories of the United Nations HeForShe movement, Accor is committed to gender equality, diversity and inclusion and this year on International Women’s Day, it has signed the Coalition Ending Gender-Based Violence.

In line with that, Accor will host a conference highlighting the impacts of gender-based violence, featuring esteemed speakers including Kalliopi Mingeirou, UN Women Chief, Ending Violence against Women and Girls; Geraldine Grace da Fonseca da Justa, Director of Brazil’s Department for Policies to Combat Violence Against Women; and Sohini Bhattacharya, President & CEO Breakthrough India. The conference will help educate Accor’s employees worldwide on the issues facing women and barriers against equality.

Photo / 123RF

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