International Women’s Day may sound like a day reserved for the ladies, but it actually requires both men and women working together towards making the call for gender equality a reality.

In 2017 – over 108 years since the first Women’s Day celebration was held – the world is being encouraged to ‘Be Bold for Change’, a theme the Australian travel industry has embraced by recognising female colleagues, announcing new appointments and fighting for equal pay.

Here are just a few of the ways the industry is celebrating International Women’s Day today:


1. Air India flew a record-breaking all-female flight around the world


Literally only women were involved in arranging, launching and operating this record service around the world.

It was females in the cockpit, in the cabin, at check-in and even at ground control. Click here for more details.


2. Emirates gives the jumbo jet to its eldest & youngest female pilots


Fighting gender equality and ageism, Emirates has put its 29,000 female employees under the spotlight by handing its eldest and youngest female pilots the keys to its A380.

The airline’s Vice President of Human Resources, Abdulaziz Al Ali, said the carrier is committed to providing “equal opportunities at the workplace for both men and women” across all areas of the business. He continued, saying Emirates is proud of its colleagues and their “immense contribution to the growth and success of the airline”.

Emirates has over 18,000 women working as cabin crew and the rest are employed across technical as well as in professional and leadership positions. Click here to watch Emirates’ female pilots lead the way.


3. Mantra is closing the gap on gender equality


Mantra Group is closing the gap on gender inequality, with its latest data showing the accommodation group sits well above the industry average for female employees and that an influx of women in management has boosted gender equality in senior roles.

Sixty-one percent of Mantra Group’s 4,500+ Australian team members are female – 9.2 percent higher than the industry average, according to the latest data from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA).

The rise is a result of the group’s Women in Mantra initiative launched in 2014, which focuses on flexible working arrangements and the career development of female employees, Mantra Group has experienced an increase of women in management positions.

Across its Australian managed properties, women in department head positions have increased by 16 percent while women in general manager positions have increased by two percent.

Mantra Circle on Cavill General Manager Kyla Sippel, who has been with Mantra Group since 2009, said she relies on workplace flexibility to manage one of the Group’s larger properties as well as raise a family.


4. Women are also jumping into management at Royal Caribbean


International Women’s Day prompted the women at Royal Caribbean Cruises in Australia and New Zealand to consider just how much the company has grown in eight years.

Kathryn Valk, the cruise line’s Director of Sales and Marketing, said a look around the team proves just how “very well” women are represented in the company in both management and working across the business in sales, marketing, communications and HR.

“We’re very proud of our women in leadership, and our diverse and inclusive work environment,” she said.


5. AccorHotels appointed its first female indigenous General Manager


A huge announcement for both women and indigenous Australians, AccorHotels is celebrating International Women’s Day by appointing its first ever Indigenous General Manager, Kristy Stanton.

Stanton become General Manager of ibis Budget Sydney Olympic Park, a role she says she “so grateful for” because it helps create a pathway for “more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders especially females within AccorHotels”.

“Since taking on my role there are already other Indigenous employees – male and female aspiring to be in my position and already I can see they are more confident to be outspoken about their career goals rather than shying away from them.,” she said.


6. PONANT supports the work of Médecins Sans Frontières with women


What better day to sign over your support for a Doctors Without Border program that specialises in assisting women in Africa?

PONANT inked the agreement with the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) program today as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility policy. It focuses on one of MSF’s maternal and child health programmes in Africa, incorporating obstetrics, paediatrics and preventing HIV transmission.

“We are delighted to launch this partnership with Médecins Sans Frontières. Solidarity is a shared value for both MSF and PONANT and is fundamental for us,” Jean Emmanuel Sauvée, President and co-Founder of PONANT said.

PONANT has been working to promote women’s rights with its “Women at the helm” (Femmes à la barre) programme, which seeks to encourage the gender balance among its crew. It also works regularly with the French shipowners’ association, Armateurs de France and the National Maritime Academy (Ecole Nationale Supérieure Maritime) to honour female officers.


7. IHG unveils a new initiative to inspire & mentor female leaders


Launching in time for International Women’s Day, InterContinental Hotels Group has announced its new programme, RISE, to inspire female leaders in Australia and New Zealand to ‘lean in’ to General Manager roles.

An important component of IHG’s global diversity and inclusion philosophy, RISE will provide a career development programme for female leaders who have aspirations to become General Managers, demonstrating the immense value the company places on diversity in creating an engaged and high performing workforce.

RISE will provide support to these high potential female leaders, through the following key elements:

– Mentor – a current female General Manager will guide and support each RISE participant
– Sponsor – a senior male leader as a ‘champion of change’ to provide career advice, whilst also benefiting from ‘reverse mentoring’ from the participants on supporting Gender Equality in operations
– Career Planning Support – via face to face sessions with IHG’s Learning and Development team

RISE participants will also be inspired to motivate female leaders in their own hotel, through Lean In Circles. They will also be asked to provide input and feedback to IHG’s Diversity and Inclusion forum, thereby ensuring all programmes are evolving and efficient.

How is your company celebrating International Women’s Day?