Given the political landscape currently, women’s rights and progress are on my mind more than usual. I spent the week across the country and as I boarded my 6 hour flight home, it struck me that of the 20 Business Class seats, only ONE was occupied by a woman, and sadly, that woman was not me. I caught her eye though and nodded, desperately wanting to high five her, but settled for an inner monologue something along the lines of “you go girl”.
The gentlemen that joined her in Business Class were all your standard corporate guy with cellphones in ear and laptops out, and let me say here that I in no way begrudge these guys. I live the travel lifestyle and I know that Business Class is earned by logging millions of air miles over years of travel away from your family and they have most likely worked hard to get that Platinum Status that entitles them to their seat. My observation is simply that the conspicuous lack of ladies in Business Class on this flight speaks to the state of our workforce.
Women account for less than 5% of the upper echelon in the workforce which was even illustrated on my flight. My companions to the left and right of me in coach class are both women, on their laptops, clearly engaged in some kind of professional situation. One has a legal pad out and seems to be reviewing a case, the other is double checking some math on a calculator while she creates an Excel pivot table. Both are closer to 45 than they are to 25, much like the gentlemen in Business Class. So is it that these guys just had more opportunity to log those much needed miles? Is it that their companies allow them to purchase Business Class tickets for cross-country flights? Is it that these guys just purchase those tickets because they know they get more work done on a 6 hour flight when they’re not cramped?
Whatever the reason, there is a disparity, and for the first time in a while, I took notice and it made me ask myself: “What will I do so that when my niece boards a cross country flight at the age of 40, she’ll see at least 10 of 20 seats occupied by women. What can we all do?”
I’m gonna start by booking Business Class for my next trip. I can make more money for my company in the 6 hours it takes to cross the country than it costs to buy a Biz Class seat.
Journey On, Janes.