Today is International Women's Day, and around the world women and their allies are standing up to build a more gender-balanced world. Today the women of Ka'ana will be leading a walkathon from San Ignacio Market to Kontiki Gas Station in honor of this year's theme: #BalanceforBetter.
We asked the female Ka'ana team members about their experiences as women in the hotel industry and what they're doing to make a better future for all.
Here's what they had to say...
Q: What do you think needs to happen to ensure women are given equal opportunities in our industry?
"In my eyes, #BalanceforBetter looks like treating everyone the same and allowing every person the same opportunities despite your ethnicity, cultural beliefs or gender." - Nicole Stephens
"To drive a better working environment and world, there must be a willingness to work as a team with respect, modesty, firmness, professionalism and not being subjective of demographic characteristics." - Janeen Nal
"To improve gender equality at a workplace, an employer should not isolate or ignore anyone and make equal access to men and women to succeed." - Anoushka De Boucherville-Brandl
Q: What challenges have you faced being a woman in this industry?
"People assume you're not the one in charge. It seems less socially acceptable when women do the same work as men. So, in all we do, we must show we are capable to do our best. You must be tough; you must work harder!" - Mirsa Mesh
Q: What difference have you made in our industry?
"I have made a difference by striving to be one of the first women as a Financial Controller at Ka'ana. This as a great achievement." - Sara Escalante
Q: What motivates you?
"As a woman, I'm proud to be a manager at Ka'ana, one of the most luxurious resorts in Belize. I hereby commit to continue to recruit, educate and train more women in the hospitality industry." - Fiona Rudon
"Our environment is one of the biggest factors that will determine whether or not we'll be successful in life. One of my favorite ways to motivate myself and open my mind to new opportunities is to learn more about other women who are also dedicating themselves passionately in making a unique contribution to Belize. My daughter, Jade, is also one of the main people that keep me motivated as I want her to grow into being an independent and successful individual who will also empower other women." - Anna Cassasola
Number one, my children - I see their happy faces every day and that motivates me to work harder and find new ways to be better at what I love to do. Second, the guests - I love hearing wonderful feedback on not only of the great service I have provided but of my colleagues as well. – Alexandra Castanedez
Q: What advice would you give to women in our industry?
"Beautiful minds inspire others - I always believe the success of one woman can help another woman be successful. We tend to forget how much we can inspire one another... no one understands us like us. We can all do everything we want to do if we help each other, encourage each other and be truthful with each other. – Alexandra Castanedez
"Don't be scared to show your strength through your work skills and passion while staying humble and true to yourself. Our time is now! Never stop learning and lift another woman when possible. Knowledge is power and confidence arises from knowledge. I have met so many talented women who feel self-conscious and not worthy of leading positions. It is important to grab every opportunity, that's when you realize your full worth and potential." - Anoushka De Boucherville-Brandl