Do business dinners hinder women?

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The first female chief of business lobby group the CBI criticises business dinners, suggesting that they are not conducive for women.

Carolyn Fairbairn says that a lot of women can’t stay back for corporate dinners due to family and childcare commitments.

The business dinner has long been a function where deals are sealed and partnerships are forged, but Fairbairn calls on a move towards early evening discussion panels.  However, it would remain to be seen if a rather more formal, business focussed ‘discuss and debate’ would replace the informal dinner.  Certainly in service industries such as PR, the bread and butter lies within building relationships, which are much easier to forge over a meal, rather than a ‘straight to the point’ panel.

PR is also one of the few industries that has a strong female representation, so it would be interesting to see if other senior level female employees share Fairbairn’s sentiments.

What do you think? Has the business dinner had its day?  Or is it still the best way to seal the deal?         

Halima Khatun

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