The odds of a woman moving into a leadership level, such as CEO or partner, was one woman in 5.7 men in 2020, just slightly better than 2019’s rate of one woman to 5.9 men, according to the Castell Project’s fourth annual Women in Hospitality Industry Leadership report.

WOMEN AND MINORITIES made very little advancement in the hospitality industry over the last year, according to the fourth Women in Hospitality Industry Leadership report from The Castell Project, a not-for-profit organization that promotes women in the hotel business. The COVID-19 pandemic is the suspected cause of the stifling of diversification.

For example, the odds of a woman moving into a leadership level, such as CEO or partner, was one woman in 5.7 men in 2020, just slightly better than 2019’s rate of one woman to 5.9 men, according to the report. That’s probably an effect of the pandemic, said Peggy Berg, founder and chair of the Castell Project.

“While the rhetoric surrounding women and diversity in leadership escalated in 2020, the needle barely moved, exacerbated by COVID-related layoffs and furloughs. The effects of the pandemic on women and minorities were particularly noticeable,” Berg said. “Returning to the status quo should not be the goal. The industry lost 479,000 employees, 35 percent, over the past year according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; this is a massive reset. We believe this offers companies a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build stronger organizations by benefiting from the full-pool of diverse talent.”

There is a 48 percent difference between the most and least gender-diverse companies, Berg said, citing the May 2020 McKinsey & Co. Diversity Wins report.

“This is critical for the hospitality industry where leading companies also have the most robust diversity initiatives. As an industry that feels workforce pressure, we need to do better for women who want career advancement in addition to families and for men who want families as well as career advancement,” Berg said. “The companies that perform best in the new post-Pandemic market will be companies with diverse leadership.”

The American Hotel & Lodging Association Foundation supported the research for the report.

Last week, Castell Project and the She Has A Deal contest that provides its winner a chance at hotel ownership announced the creation of Fortuna’s Table, a new website built to connect prospective hotel owners to the knowledge, guidance and networking they need to achieve their goal.