Red Carnation Promotes Female Empowerment
Although March was Women’s History Month, an annual month dedicated to highlighting the contributions of women in history and contemporary society, this year the occasion slipped under the radar with the rise of COVID-19.
To mark the event, Victoria Tollman, the Director of Red Carnation Hotels and the daughter of Beatrice Tollman, President and founder of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection, talked with Travel Courier about the company’s history and ongoing efforts to put women at the forefront.
“Female empowerment and gender equality is firmly in our roots at Red Carnation Hotels,” Tollman told Travel Courier. “My mother, our President and Founder Beatrice Tollman, was something of a trailblazer in hospitality and was running the kitchen at the Nugget Hotel, my parents’ first property in South Africa, in the 1950s when it was unheard of for a woman to be a hotel chef. Over the years, through hard work and a passion for guest service, she has built an award-winning collection of hotels renowned for warm, welcoming and thoughtful service.”
Today, Red Carnation’s workforce is made up of 51% women, with nearly 40% in top managerial roles, including three at the general manager level, “a true accolade in the male-dominated hotel industry.”
Alongside the leadership of her mom, Tollman said her sister and niece are also very involved in Red Carnation in different ways.
“We also work with a number of partners specifically chosen as they support or facilitate female empowerment,” she added. “These include Women in Travel’s Women Returners program, through which we hope to help bring under-represented or vulnerable women into hospitality jobs; Me to We chocolate, which we sell in our hotels, the proceeds of which empower female cacao producers to receive a fair wage and grant their families better access to education, and Clean Conscience, a wonderful company that repurposes leftover toiletries and sends supplies to parts of the world with poor sanitation. We believe that by supporting women, the whole community is elevated.”
Here’s more information on three of the empowering ways The Red Carnation Hotel Collection, which has properties in the UK, Ireland, Switzerland, US, Botswana and South Africa, aids women locally and globally.
Red Carnation works with the Women in Travel (CIC) ‘Women Returners’ program to help under-represented or vulnerable women into hospitality jobs. These women could be unemployed refugees or asylum seekers, females who have been trapped in people-trafficking crime, or been in abusive relationships. The program works with Crisis UK to identify women that are ready to return to work and discuss vacancies, facilitate meetings with managers at the properties, and offer training sessions.
ME to WE’s Fairtrade, award-winning chocolate bars benefit communities in exploited areas and are sold across the Red Carnation Hotel Collection. When guests purchase these chocolates, they promote workers’ rights and support WE Charity, a Canadian organization whose initiatives improve maternal healthcare in South America, Africa, and Asia. WE Charity has provided accessible, clean water access in areas where mothers would have to walk miles daily to provide hydration (often contaminated) for their families.
Red Carnation works in partnership with the UK-based charity CleanConscience to recycle and repurpose any unused hotel soaps and toiletries left by guests for those in need of access to hygiene products. These redistributed amenities help and support causes such as the We-STAP organization which supplies CareKit™ toiletry packs to women in need, and aids international efforts such as the Kori Development Project which supports and educates women and girls in the Kori Chiefdom of Sierra Leone. CleanConscience donates hard soap that the women are then able to press into new bars and sell.