Industry veteran Jackie Moody-McNamara has launched the initiative and spoke at The Morning Advertiser (MA)’s MA Leaders Club conference in Leeds this week (Thursday 23 September).
The campaign, which is supported by The MA, is called #inviteustospeak and is urging the sector to ensure a 30% representation of women at podiums at events and conferences.
"I've transitioned my own bar to boardroom career and among other things, specialise in empowering professional women to get ahead in male dominated sectors.
“It would seem over the last few weeks there have been many face to face conference and events which have caused a very negative response from not only the women in the sector but men too.
“I started receiving messages and images of all male panels at events where there was only one woman out of 18 speakers at the podium, it feels like Deja Vu going back to my time in the 90's when I was an area manager, I thought we'd moved on, obviously not.
“But after a series of events and messages, one woman likened the stage line up to the Afghan government, referencing, they have more women in government that we do on our stage conferences.
“The elephant in the room is like a dirty little secret, we know it’s happening, everyone knows it’s happening and frankly, we have not made enough effort to change it.”
Moody McNamara added: "I undertook some surveys and found 84% people think the pub and bar sector are not doing enough when it comes to the diversity of speakers at pub and bar events. 69% have said we could do more or are not doing enough and 80% of women look to see if women are speaking at events."
Poppleston Allen partner Sarah Taylor also attended and presented at the MA Leaders Club event. On the subject of the #inviteustospeak campaign, she said: “"It was great to follow such an inspiring speech from Jackie at yesterday's event.
“It is important that we all play our part in encouraging diversity across the hospitality trade and supporting the brilliant women within our businesses to develop and progress into leadership roles.
“On a personal note, the MA has always been supportive of me and provided many opportunities to speak and have my voice heard within the trade press and at events. The MA Leaders event was therefore the perfect forum to talk about the #inviteustospeak campaign.”
Speaking after the event, Christian Townley of North Brewing Co, who hosted part of the conference at the company's Springwell site, said: "Jackie Moody McNamara was inspirational speaking at the MA Leaders Conference at Springwell in Leeds. The message was loud and clear, give women in your business a real voice, it's not only good for equality but it's good for business too.
"As a company with a management team split 50-50 female-male we can back this up! I'm looking forward to working with Jackie to help give the amazing women at North confidence to step up onto the stage at similar conferences and show the industry that women have an important role to play in leading business and a place on the stage."
Ed Bedington, editor of the MA, added: "Diversity is a big issue across all sectors, and the pub trade is not immune. We need to do more to encourage better representation throughout, and encouraging more to speak is a great way to start."
Moody-McNamara is also facilitating a free 'Speaking with Confidence Workshop' in January for anyone who'd like support to develop their speaking skills, to create a pipeline of diverse speakers for future conferences and events.
If you’d like to know more contact Jackie at firstname.lastname@example.org