Exhibition World Issue 3 – 2021 | Page 22

Women in exhibitions

Women ’ s ‘ sixth sense ’

Żaneta Berus , a dynamic force for many years in Poland and eastern Europe ’ s exhibition industries , shares a perspective , and that of some of her female colleagues in the region , on the topic of women in exhibitions
Gender cannot make a person better , worse , more capable or experienced . Differences that exist between men and women can , of course , work to the advantage of a company and enrich its way of thinking and formulating strategies .
Artificially striving for balance on all positions and in all industries is probably a mistake , considering the preferences of women themselves , who tend to thrive in sectors connected with direct contact with other people , including the hospitality and MICE sector .
Grant Thornton ’ s Women in Business 2020 report indicated that the global average of companies in which women hold the most responsible positions is 29 % – an increase of 10 % compared to data from 15 years ago .
The report showed African countries were the best in terms of gender equality ( 38 % of managers there are women ), followed by Australia , Oceania and Eastern Europe ( 35 % each ). The worst results were from Japan , where only 12 % of managers are women and in more than half of Japanese companies there are no women in any important managerial position .
In Polish companies women currently make up 38 % of top managerial staff . Only South Africa ( 40 %) and the Philippines ( 43 %) have a higher proportion , but we are far ahead of Germany , where only 30 % of women hold senior positions , or the UK and the US ( 29 % and 28 % respectively ).
Polish women most often play the role of HR director ( 40 %) or CFO ( 30 %), yet only 20 % of CEOs are women . It is a country where 87 % of companies have at least one woman on the board . However , there are
Below : Żaneta Berus at Expo4Future Conference 2019 still half as many female as male board members .
Creating a vision of a new event often requires a ‘ sixth sense ’, but also the ability to think creatively while analysing details and multi-tasking , and no one is better at this than women .
The event sector is made up of 80 % smaller companies , and the majority of them in Poland are managed by women . The tradefair sector in Poland is typically based 85 % on venues and related organisers owned by cities or partly by the State Treasury . Many women hold managerial roles . In the MTP Group the vice-president is currently Elżbieta Roeske , and in Targi Kielce the vice-president is Bożena Staniak .
Krakow has a private tradefair centre , EXPO KRAKÓW . Grażyna Grabowska and Ewa Woch have been in the management team from the inception and , at the other congress centre in Krakow , ICE Krakow , two strong women are in charge .
In Warsaw , however , the two largest tradefair centres , both privately owned , currently have no women in senior management .
In Warsaw , examples where women are on the management boards are MT Targi Polska , Agencja Promocji Zieleni , AUTOMATICON , Lentewenc , Grupa IC and Agencja SOMA .
My own professional path began at the Polish Chamber of Commerce in the Foreign Promotion Office , where I was responsible for leading Polish entrepreneurs on economic missions abroad . I helped promote companies at foreign tradefairs , which at the time were almost non-existent in Poland ( with the exception of MTP ). The Chamber had long relied on women in the Promotion Office , so we always felt appreciated .
22 Issue 3 2021 www . exhibitionworld . co . uk