A female friend of mine took an Uber to the airport last week for a business trip and the driver commented that he “usually drives business people at this time of day.” What made her ‘not a business person’? Was it the boobs?
So much of the business world has become female-friendly. But get on a plane during business travel time, and it’s like you’re on the set of Mad Men. One or two women show up, but the plane is 90% filled with men in suits or khakis. I feel like Purl in Pixar’s recent short.
Do women opt-out of travel? Is it true that women opt-out of business travel? Is it because they have children? I have never seen a woman opt-out of travel at work. The mystery remains.
Travel demographics reflect the leadership demographic. Are business travelers mostly executives? If so, we know only roughly 20% of executives are female, so we can expect only 20% of business flights to be female. Though it seems to be even lower than 20%.
Travel is a privilege for women. “How was your junket?” a male client once joked to me. I’m sorry, did you think I wanted to be away from kids all week to help your company? I notice women at work often begging to travel, trying to get approval, offering to pay their own way to be allowed to go to a conference or meeting. They harp on the flight prices and try to find the cheapest hotel. Men would NEVER do this! Men just hop a flight, they change their flight, with no thought to change fees. They know they need to be wherever they need to be and assume no one will question them.
Brain Twist. Next time you are on a business-hour flight, look around and count the men vs women. Tweet the ratio of male vs female flyers using #manflying. Like this “men 20 women 5 #manflying”
Post Script: This TSA Precheck advertisement pretty much sums it up: