About us

Introduction from Natalie Bickford, chair, Women 1st

At Women 1st, we want to transform the face of boards in the tourism and visitor economy sector (hospitality, passenger transport, travel, tourism and retail), and support women who aspire to senior leadership roles to fulfil their career ambitions.

In 2009, we discovered that, while women make up almost 60 percent of the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism workforce, just six percent of board-level directors are female. In passenger transport, women make up just 25 percent of the entire workforce.

This needs to change, and that’s where Women 1st comes in.

At a time when our industries are crying out for skilled managers and leaders, there are thousands of talented women who can step up to the plate, given the right support. We want to give women the skills, confidence and inspiration to go for more senior roles, help them build their personal networks and help organisations understand how and why they should support their female managers to reach the top.

We are doing this through:

  • Training – our continuous professional development programmes transform women’s leadership capabilities and give them the skills to take the next step in their career
  • Mentoring – we give women access to personal advice and guidance from senior leaders they would not usually have access to
  • Resources – our ‘Little Book of Diversity’ is a practical guide to increasing the gender balance in your senior team
  • Awards – our annual Shine Awards shine a light on the women that are making a difference in our industries
  • Top 100 Club – we have established a growing network of influential women to act as role models and ambassadors for future female leaders
  • Thought leadership – we encourage people, businesses and media to talk about why there aren’t more women in senior positions, and what we can do to change it
  • Consultancy – we offer a bespoke service for businesses who want to improve their gender balance

Our mission is to have one female candidate on the long list for every board or executive team position by 2017 – but we can’t do it without your help.

Whether you are looking to move up to the next level in your career, share your own knowledge and experience, or develop female managers within your own team, we would love to work with you. Together, we can make a real difference to empower the female leaders of tomorrow.

Read our research report into women working in hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism.

The Women 1st campaign is run by People 1st, the leading workforce development charity for the hospitality, tourism, leisure, travel, passenger transport and retail industries.