Monday, October 30, 2017

"Vistara airline makes chivalry part of service"

Jul. 29, 2017 "Vistara airline makes chivalry part of service": Today I found this article by Justin Bachman in the Edmonton Journal:

In a country where women travellers face myriad dangers, one Indian airline has an idea: Chivalry, and no middle seats.

With its Woman Flyer service, Vistara has begun offering to help women flying solo with their bags, escort them to and from their ground transportation, and give them preferred window and aisle seats on their flights — no middles. The New Delhibased airline says between 75 and 100 women use the complimentary service each day. It is believed to be the first airline to offer such a service.

Sanjiv Kapoor, Vistara’s chief strategy and commercial officer, said the airline began offering it after noticing women seeking help after their planes had landed. “Our staff is equipped to help women travelling alone with the booking of airport-authorized taxis, as well as escort them to the airport taxi stand upon their request,” Kapoor said via email. “This service is a sincere effort to ensure peace of mind of our women customers.”

India is forecast to become the world’s sixth- largest business travel market by 2019, according to the Global Business Travel Association, but it’s gained a reputation for being unsafe for women — particularly since the brutal 2012 gang rape, torture, and murder of a medical student attacked on a public bus in New Delhi.

In its notices to Americans about travelling to India, the U.S. State Department is blunt on the danger of sexual assault: “U.S. citizens, particularly women, are cautioned not to travel alone in India.”

Australia and the United Kingdom offer similar, slightly more circumscribed warnings for women to avoid travelling alone on Indian public transit. In sexual assault cases in India, “successful prosecutions are rare,” Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises. Street harassment, controversially known as “Eve teasing,” is common.

The problems for India’s tourism flow directly from cultural issues around gender inequality in Indian society, said Marta Turnbull, editor of the International Women’s Travel Center, a resource site that compiles a list of the 10 most dangerous countries for women travellers using a variety of government travel warnings, United Nations data, and other sources. India is fifth on that list, which also includes Brazil, Mexico, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

“We did find there is a correlation between what happens to local women and women travellers,” said Turnbull, who lives in Boulder, Colo. “There are a lot of activists who are taking it on as an issue. We’re optimistic that things will get better, but it will take a while — a long time.”

Vistara hopes to extend its new service for women to international flights once it expands outside of India. In May, the airline, which flies an all-Airbus A320 domestic fleet, was seeking to recruit pilots trained on Boeing Co. aircraft — a signal it is considering leasing or buying Boeing jets for longer-haul routes outside the country.

Two rival airlines, IndiGo and Jet Airways India Ltd., did not reply to messages seeking comment about Vistara’s new service for women, which began in March.

My opinion: This is some good news about women's safety.

Aug. 5, 2017 "While women reach the C-suite, it is still men waiting in the wings": Today I found this article by Jeff Green and Jordyn Holman in the Globe and Mail:

When Mondelez International Inc. said Wednesday that chief executive officer Irene Rosenfeld was retiring, it was no surprise that the food company also announced that she would be succeeded by a man.

Since 2009, 19 female CEOs of S&P 500 companies have stepped down. In only three of those cases was the executive replaced by another woman, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Ms. Rosenfeld, 64, will retire in November and be succeeded by Dirk Van de Put, who currently leads McCain Foods Ltd.

“It underscores just how truly exceptional it is for a woman CEO to be succeeded by another woman,” said Brande Stellings, senior vice-president of advisory services at Catalyst, which tracks diversity in companies. “Since we had the first woman CEO in the Fortune 500 in 1972, there’s only been 62 women CEOs in total, which is pretty staggering.”

Investors are putting pressure on company boards to improve lacklustre diversity records, particularly this year, when State Street Corp. and BlackRock Inc. voted against hundreds of directors at companies seen as lagging on gender parity and other measures of diversity.

McKinsey & Co. and other consultants are providing a growing body of research that indicates companies that shift away from a monolithic white-male leadership outperform those that haven’t changed their complexion. Still, most measures of diversity have been largely unchanged for a decade.

The direction a company takes on diversity comes from its board room, where white men have dominated since the last century. When choosing a new CEO, board members tend to rely more often on people they know than on executives selected by recruiters who screen candidates from a wider field, said Trina Gordon, CEO of executive-search firm Boyden.

About 80 per cent of directors on S&P 500-listed companies are men.
“Boards are still not very diverse, and if you don’t have diversity at the governance level, there’s not a lot of changes that are going to happen,” Ms. Gordon said.

Women, who make up about half of the U.S. work force, aren’t forecast to gain parity in the board room until 2032, according to a June estimate from executive recruiter Heidrick & Struggles.

Debra Crew’s promotion to succeed Susan Cameron as CEO at Reynolds American Inc. earlier this year was the first female-tofemale handover in the S&P 500 in five years, according to data from recruiter Spencer Stuart.

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