BY AMY A. ROBINSONThis article originally appeared in the Nov/Dec 2017 edition of Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association publication: Main Ingredient.
If you haven’t already heard, we have partnered with the ORLA Education Foundation to host what we hope will be a unique and valuable event this fall. Our aim is to gather current and future women leaders from a host of backgrounds, as well as those within the restaurant and hospitality industries, to talk about leadership. We are calling it: “Women and Leadership: A Candid Conversation about Barriers, Bias, and Building Alliances.” In particular, we intend for it to be a time to celebrate some notable success stories and talk about lessons learned along the way.
While we hope the event will be fun, we also think the topic couldn’t be more timely. In fact, the latest statistics clearly show that when it comes to overall advancement and achieving key leadership positions, women still lag far behind their male counterparts. According to a recent study published by the Oregon Employment Department, women outnumber men in the accommodations and food services industries in Oregon at 54%, yet they only earn about 87% of what their male counterparts earn. While that’s better than the state-wide statistic of only 69% earning capacity, there is plainly still room for improvement.
That’s true nationally as well. In fact, according to the most recent national census data, over the last half a century, women’s median earnings only grew from 61% of what their male counterparts averaged to just 83%. Similarly, women-owned businesses increased to 35.8% in 2012. Yet at the same time, U.S. women are now graduating college at a higher percentage and still outnumber men 2 to 1 overall. Likewise, according to a recent Forbes study, when it comes to major Fortune 500 companies; there are only 32 with women CEO’s, which amounts to only 6%. On the bright side, the percentage of women managers is definitely on the rise, and the food, beverage, and hospitality industries appear to be leading the way.
It’s certainly exciting to see these tangible records of success, but I think it’s fair to say that there is still a lot of room for growth when it comes to creating pathways to success for women in today’s workplaces and boardrooms. I hope you will join me and our distinguished panelists to hear some inspiring success stories and collaborate on how we can all support, promote, and encourage continued progress.
For more information and registration details, visit https://bit.ly/WomenAndWhiskey. I look forward to seeing you on November 15th. Cheers!
 State of Oregon, Employment Department, “Where Women Work and How Much They Earn” online at https://www.qualityinfo.org/-/where-women-work-and-how-much-they-ea-1 (visited October 12, 2017).
 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Women's earnings compared to men's earnings in 2014 online at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2015/womens-earnings-compared-to-mens-earnings-in-2014.htm (visited October 12, 2017).
 U.S. Census Bureau , “FFF: Women’s History Month: March 2016” online at https://www.census.gov/newsroom/facts-for-features/2016/cb16-ff03.html (visited October 12, 2017).
 National Center for Education Statistics online at https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=72(visited October 12, 2017); Also, U.S. Census Bureau , “FFF: Women’s History Month: March 2016” online at https://www.census.gov/newsroom/facts-for-features/2016/cb16-ff03.html (visited October 12, 2017).
 State of Oregon Employment Department, “Working Women: Participation and the Earnings Gap” online at https://www.qualityinfo.org/-/working-women-participation-and-the-earnings-gap (visited October 12, 2017).