Enhance Entertainment stages all-female talent takeover to make stand against gender inequality in events industry
At first glance, the Australian events industry appears to be female dominant. A closer look, however, reveals that ingrained gender inequality still lingers. According to event software compeny, Bizzabo, almost 70% of global events speakers are male. As such, it is clear to see most Australian events bureaus websites represent significantly more male than female talent.
Enhance Entertainment, a leading Australian talent bureau that provides speakers, MCs and entertainers for corporate events, believes that the only way to effect change and achieve gender equality is through action.
For International Women’s Day, Enhance Entertainment decided for a whole week to only show female talent. It was a way in which Enhance could take a stand for gender equality in the business events industry and as a means to self-reflect on its own business operations by identifying and addressing any gender gaps across all categories of talent it represents.
Inspirational writer and speaker Lucy Bloom (pictured above) is one of the many speakers represented by the company - with further impressive women speakers including the likes of Marina Pryor, Dr Gina Clio, Emma Pask, Leah McLeod and Dr Leslie Cannold.
Making a stand with an online all-female takeover
Enhance Entertainment's Week of Women Only shined a spotlight on gender bias in business events, inspired everyone to make more gender balanced decisions, and showed that small businesses like theirs can take action and make a positive difference.
Although removing more than half its talent from its website posed a possible loss of business, Enhance Entertainment firmly believed that taking this drastic action was imperative to highlighting issues of gender inequality.
Gaining support of male talent and interviewing powerful women
In its preparation to remove all male talent from our website, Enhance Entertainment garnered support from both male and female talent from all walks of life. Male talent, from playwrights and comedians to neuroscientists, adventurers, and global strategists, shared their words of support and encouragement on social media.
Enhance Entertainment featured interviews with six powerful Australia women making remarkable progress in their respective fields, including an ethicist, musical theatre star, TV personality, jazz singer, research assistant and entrepreneur/keynote speaker. Under the title 'Amazing Achievements in an Unbalanced World', this article was shared on social media and industry channels, supported by researched events industry statistics, including an interview with a UK expert on the current state of gender balance in the events industry.
Enhance Entertainment also created a blog post titled 'Calling For Gender Equality in the Events Industry' that was sent to industry outlets to highlight gender disparity and promote Enhance Entertainment's innovative approach in inspiring a #BalanceForBetter.
Inspiring clients to consider equality when hiring talent
Enhance Entertainment applied some ground rules for its all-female takeover. Individual performers, such as speakers and solo artists, must be women. Groups, such as stage shows and cover bands, must be all women. One man in any group would exclude that group from its all-female showcase. The exceptions were female solo artists such as stage shows or headline acts with supporting men, if the performance is identified by the woman artist.
Alongside the showcased women, Enhance Entertainment added explanations to its website detailing the importance of gender parity and the rationale behind its IWD Week of Women Only to raise awareness among its clients and inspire them to keep gender equality top of mind when selecting event talent.
Opting for an innovative, digital approach to celebrating IWD
Although Enhance Entertainment could have easily hosted an event for International Women’s Day - events are its thing - it instead opted for an innovative, digital approach that would harness its strengths in content marketing and have a greater and wider impact. Enhance Entertainment's IWD Week of Women Only was a brave innovation for a small business to undertake, particularly at the risk of a loss of business, and to its knowledge this initiative has never been done before. Despite one male magazine editor predicting a negative reaction to the initiative, Enhance Entertainment is delighted that all its men, from employees to suppliers and talent, thought it was a very worthy idea.
Messages of support from Enhance Entertainment's male talent included “Mao once pointed out that women hold up half the sky. This great initiative should help us move a little closer to the day when women raise half the roofs," said Ben Elton, Author, Playwright.
"Our generation and the next will face the biggest crises of our lifetime. Environmental. Political. Financial. We're bearing the brunt of a male predominated geopolitical and business arena and I for one am glad that the balance is shifting. The future is female and the future is bright," said Justin Jones, Adventurer and Presenter.
Making important changes within and outside the organization
Enhance Entertainment's IWD initiative made a positive impact both within the organization and in the event industry as a whole.
Inspired by the all-female takeover, Enhance Entertainment did a rigorous internal analysis to identify exactly where it's short on female talent in the various entertainment categories and fields of speaker expertise it showcases. Since then, the organization has started reaching out to more female talent.
In a continued effort to make an impact in the wider industry, Enhance Entertainment partnered with infographic creators at Venngage to create and share additional content to continue raising awareness about the importance of a #BetterForBalance and to continue applying these messages every day until it can achieve real change.
The company's efforts to inspire #BetterForBalance are ongoing with an infographic and review article about their IWD initiative.
If one event manager, having read about its IWD Week of Women Only, chooses a female entertainer instead of a male one, Enhance Entertainment believes it has made an impact.
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