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11/03/2020 – News / Hospitality / Awards / Hotel & Hospitality Show / Africa Big 7

New awards set to boost women’s empowerment in the hospitality sector


Entries are now open for the inaugural ‘Women in Food, Beverage & Hospitality Awards’, the new highlight of the Hotel & Hospitality Show, which takes place alongside Africa’s Big 7 and SAITEX as part of Africa Trade Week at Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg (21–23 June 2020).

Africa’s top hotel and hospitality industry trade show is inviting has invited entries and nominations for the first awards in South Africa to recognise top women and top organisations empowering women across the board in the country’s hotel, food and beverage sectors.


Lynn Chamier, Event Director for Food, Hospitality and Trade in South Africa at dmg events – the show’s organiser – advised that the awards have been introduced to help drive equitable representation throughout the hotel and hospitality sector, and to encourage those already excelling in this regard. “A FEDHASA statement released late last year indicated that while women make up 60 per cent of all employees in the accommodation sector and 40 per cent of employees in the broader tourism sector, they are under-represented in leadership roles,” Ms. Chamier revealed. “The UN World Tourism Organisation’s Global Report on Women in Tourism reports that in South Africa – as is the case in many other countries – women are less likely than men to reach professional-level employment in the sector, leading to lower wages and fewer opportunities. Only a fraction of women in the industry currently reach the top – in fact, as Tourvest’s COO Judi Nwakedi has stated, of 297 companies surveyed in the hospitality industry in South Africa, only 4.7 per cent at CFO level are women, just 4.5 per cent are chairs, and only 19 per cent are executive directors.”


Developing female talent


Ms. Chamier noted that more must be done to develop female talent and help women to rise to the top in the tourism and hospitality industries. “Women play a crucial role in the success of South Africa’s hotel and hospitality sectors, and these awards have been introduced to celebrate women leading the way as influencers and innovators, reward excellence, and encourage further gender diversity in these industries. Our new women’s awards will recognise both programmes that empower women, and powerful, successful women who serve as a role model for others,” she said.


The inaugural Women in Food, Beverage & Hospitality Awards will be judged by a panel of renowned industry leaders, with awards to be presented at the Hotel & Hospitality Show during Africa Trade Week in Johannesburg in June this year.  


An array of award categories 


The Women in Food, Beverage & Hospitality Awards will recognise:


Women in Food: 

• Emerging entrepreneur of the year 

• Woman of the year – sponsored by Gallagher Convention Centre

• Best women’s skills development programme of the year 


Women in Beverage:  

• New product of the year

• Industry champion award

• Top women empowered programme of the year


Women in Hospitality:

• Best front of house 

• Hotel chef of the year  

• Excellence in leadership 

• Best women empowerment & transformation programme  


Introducing the 2020 judges


The judging panel comprises industry experts, including:

• Jeanette Moloto, Account Director at Marriott International South Africa

• Judy Brower, Co-founder of wine portal and founder of #wineforgood

• Lara Mare’, Managing Director of Rush Nutrition

• Lee Zama, Chief Executive Officer of FEDHASA

• Mbali Nwoko, Chief Executive Farmer of Green Terrace

• Sarah Gray, Chairlady of the SA Chefs Association Women in Culinary Committee

• Judy Kepher Gona, advisor and analyst on sustainable travel & tourism and winner of the Forbes Woman Africa Sustainable Citizen Award 2019

• Xolile Mbatha, Research, Nutrition and Development Director at Kellogg’s South Africa

• Prof Nellie Swart, Associate Professor: Tourism Management at University of South Africa (UNISA)


Submit your nominations


Entries and nominations should be submitted, with an accompanying motivation letter, here:


The deadline for submissions is 30 March 2020.


For more information about the nomination process and supporting documents contact: Roshenda Barendilla at or call +27 21 7005513


The Women in Food, Beverage & Hospitality Awards is set to take place at the Hotel & Hospitality Show on 22 June 2020 at the Gallagher Convention Centre, Midrand. The event will be co-located with Africa’s Big 7 and SAITEX as part of Africa Trade Week at Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg from 21–23 June 2020. Africa Trade Week attracts over 10,000 visitors from around the world each year.

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