International Women's Day has been marked since the early 1900s and this year the theme is 'The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum' with events being held around the world to highlight progress being made towards women's equality.
In the UK, the hospitality industry has announced it has reached an important landmark with more than 1,000 women having now received support through Women 1st's Step Up training and mentoring programme.
"Women 1st is a trailblazer in our industry," said Joanna Morgan, service and leadership development manager for Guoman & Thistle Hotels. The hotel firm decided to train a batch of its female managers through the programme - which helped Women 1st reach the landmark announced today.
"We have been developing our female managers through the Step Up programme for some time and are delighted with the results," she added. "Women 1st has played a pivotal role in helping our business support people development and it’s great that so many women are on the way to achieving their career aspirations with Thistle."
Women 1st, founded by sector skills council People 1st in 2009, designed the Step Up programme to transform women's management and leadership skills by aspiring potential leaders to become the chief executives and board members of hospitality businesses in the future.
A mentoring programme also matches candidates to senior industry figures to help advise and guide young women in their careers.
Sharon Glancy, founder of Women 1st said: “We have noticed an increase in the number of organisations taking heed of the fact that having more women in board level positions positively impacts financial performance.
"With women making the majority of purchasing decisions, having more female input on leadership teams can help businesses develop a unique understanding of their largest customer base. It is vital that businesses provide their female staff with effective training, mentoring and networking opportunities to build a talent pipeline of future women leaders."
Currently, although nearly 60 per cent of the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism workforce is female, only six per cent of director level jobs are held by women.
Meanwhile, business lender Boost Capital has announced it is launching a targeted £10m fund to support the growth ambitions of female entrepreneurs in a variety of sectors including hospitality.
"The UK has a thriving community of female entrepreneurs, but many struggle to secure the suitably-priced funding they need to take their business to the next stage," said David Abbott, managing director of Boost Capital.
"We will work closely with our clients and their advisers in multiple sectors to raise awareness throughout these industries that there are other lending options out there. By establishing this fund, we have a great opportunity to make a real difference to the growing number of female entrepreneurs with capital injections that can be used for any business expense, from renovations to acquisitions," he added.