While women still comprise less than half of hotel GMs locally and nationally, industry experts say it's getting easier for women to fill top jobs in a field that -- like many others -- was long dominated by men in white shirts, dark suits and red ties.

About 25 percent of general managers at the 64 major and boutique hotels that belong to the San Francisco Hotel Council are women, according to Patricia Breslin, the council's executive director.

Nationally, the percentage of female GMs is even higher. In 2002, the American Hotel & Lodging Association reported that 43.5 percent of its member hotels were run by women. However, the percentage of women in chief executive officer and other top jobs on the corporate level was believed to be much smaller, according to Kathryn Potter, the association's vice president for marketing, who didn't provide an exact figure.

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