By Mary Mendoza
MACAU Business March 2022:
“Behind every successful man is a woman” an adage that was first coined in the mid-1800 is true until today, indeed it is a timeless proverb. In celebration of International Women’s Day, here’s a look at the importance of women in a leadership role at the global stage, and locally on how to thrive in the Macau gaming industry as a female.
By acknowledging the valuable inclusion of women in decision-making boosts efficacy and productivity, gives a new perspective on solutions across the board, presents more resources and development. Citing António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), he emphasized the importance of gender equality both within and outside the UN, and the importance of increasing the participation of women in the UN at the highest levels.
The UN entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women (UN Women) has published an integrated results and resources framework of the UN-Women Strategic Plan 2022 – 2025. The Strategic Plan includes those from the 25-year review and appraisal of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action which commenced in 1995 that covers a vast array of goals.
At the peak of the global pandemic, 70 percent of the global frontline health care were women coming from racially ethnically marginalized groups at the bottom of the economic level; however, even though women played vital roles during the pandemic, few were part of the decision-making process. If more women are involved in government leadership roles, a stronger alliance can be established to encourage gender-responsive laws, policies, and budgets. As per the UN, policymaking tends to reflect the priorities of families and women, whenever women are elected.
The importance of having an equal gender in leadership roles has been scientifically proven by numerous studies. One of which was the Harvard Business School report on a male-dominated venture capital industry. It was proven that the more similar (same gender, similar culture & background) the investment partners, the lower their investments’ performance. Those companies that increased the ratio of female hires by 10 percent, on average saw a 1.5 percent growth in overall funds generated annually and had 9.7 percent more profitable exit strategies results. In addition, research from McKinsey’s & Company on “Delivering Through Diversity” demonstrated that firms that exercise gender diversity on their executive teams were 21 percent more likely to experience above-average profitability than companies with less diversity on gender and ethnicity. These findings demonstrated the power of hiring more women in a male-dominated industry and having an equal proportion of leadership roles. This analysis reiterates that the more diverse companies are the more likely they are to outperform less diverse companies on profitability. Women leaders strive for the advancement of economic, social, and political development for all. Therefore, diversity and gender equality in leadership and decision-making roles is even more important.
Macau – Women Leaders in Gaming
Macau’s gaming giants (casino integrated resorts) are run by three foreign operators (Sands China Ltd, Wynn Macau Ltd., and MGM China Holdings Ltd.) and three local operators (SJM Holdings Ltd., Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd., and Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd.). Macau’s gaming tax & levies of 39 percent are some of the highest in the world, making the enclave’s economy reliant on the casino industry with contributions of 70-80 percent of the government’s revenue.
Jacinta Ho, the President of the Macau GBAHR Association, noted that 20 percent of the Macau workforce are directly employed within the gaming sector. The Macau gaming industry directly employs over 76,000 among which around 42,000 are women. The increment of maternity leave enforced by the Labour Affairs Bureau have helped retain and attract female employees by the gaming companies. This ratio reflects the gender-equal opportunities in Macau.
Although the proportion on the employment is close to equal, a so-called “glass ceiling,” is not evident when women rise to mid-level management positions; however, it becomes gradually more challenging to move upwards to the executive level. For some casino integrated resort operators the ratio is around 3-7. It has become apparent that there is a gender gap.
A casino table games veteran of over 30 years Cheryl Callaghan, Executive Director Customer Experience and Service at Sands China shares her experience: “In all my casino experience the ratio has been quite even until you reach the leadership level where it is predominantly male, however in more recent times that ratio has been changing and you can see there are more females holding leadership roles than in previous times. You earned your position through your experience and knowledge, taking ownership, and being assertive. Don’t be afraid to try new things, make the most of every opportunity; sometimes a gamble does pay off.”
Gaming operations are 24/7 work operation, a day-to-day job. It does not look at weekends or public holidays as a rest-day; therefore it requires devotion, time, effort, and sacrifices. It is important for anyone who would like to join this industry or who wants to thrive in this industry to love it., as explained by Lam Lam, Vice President of Operations Electronic Games at Galaxy Macau. She also shares her experience “All my bosses are male and similar structure in other gaming operators too.” To thrive in this industry, one doesn’t have to be a male or a female but rather to get prepared for a leadership role who can lead a team and achieve a positive result for the benefit of the company.
Historically, women made notable progress accessing positions of power and authority from the 1970s in the developing countries. Despite the slow improvement, there is a continued advancement of women’s inclusiveness in decision-making. Diversity in gender and ethnicity is key to success.
In Macau as a developed city, the inclusiveness of women in most areas is apparent. Macau as a melting pot of diverse cultures from various norms and backgrounds is an advantage to companies in Macau. However, to thrive in any endeavor of choice, be it gaming or other industries it is my advice for girls and women not to rest on their laurels, rather to continuously pursue personal/professional development continually support the community and the region that we much love.
About Mary Mendoza
Mary Mendoza is managing director of The Platinum Limited, a gaming-hospitality consulting firm and affiliated with C3 Gaming Group (Las Vegas based gaming consortium). Mary has over 20 years of working experience in which she served within the hospitality, gaming, and tourism industries. She previously held positions as Head of Casino Marketing (AVP) at Hoiana in Vietnam, Vice President of Marketing at The Grand Ho Tram in Vietnam, and before that was Vice President of Marketing at Imperial Pacific in Saipan, CMNI, USA. She also held management positions at Sands China Ltd in Macau.
Mary Mendoza has visited nearly 1,000 casinos, slot clubs and integrated resorts globally. She is an Integrated Resort executive, thought leader, speaker, advisor, and consultant specializing Asian Markets. She was invited numerous times as industry judge, speaker by G2E Asia (Macau), Global Gaming Awards (London), EGR Manila, ASEAN Gaming Summit Manila, Hong Kong City U, Macau MUST, IFTM, Macau University, Rotary Clubs (globally), Chamber of Commerce, and GRWA in Australia, among others.
On a philanthropic capacity, Mary Mendoza serves an ASEAN Advisor for a non-profit organization The Cambodian Community Dream (The CDDO).
She writes about, gaming, tourism, hospitality, leadership, and philanthropy. Her views are personal and are published to elicit discussion and to stimulate intellectual curiosity and debate.