Creating just, sustainable and equitable tourism through the transformation of gender relations in destinations and tourism organisations.
To develop cutting edge, collaborative, applied research and thought leadership on gender equality in tourism and hospitality, leading to increased structural change in the industry.
Our Strategies include
- Promoting equal representation for women, access to opportunities, influence and control over decision-making throughout the tourism industry
- Providing gender analysis as a basis for building strategies for change
- Aligning tourism with the Sustainable Development Goals
- Promoting increased recognition of unpaid care work and the double burden often associated with tourism employment
- Promoting a Human Rights approach to tourism business and development
Why Gender Matters
The concept of gender discrimination and how it affects women has now been recognised and incorporated in much development work, but it has been largely omitted in the theory and practice of tourism. This is what Equality in Tourism seeks to redress. Promoting and enabling gender equality and women’s empowerment in tourism matters, whether it is among hotel cleaners in London on the minimum wage, women in rural Africa trying to sell handicrafts to all-inclusives, or project managers at the heart of planning policies. All women deserve a fair future, but they are denied this, because men control most resources and decision-making processes in tourism. Greater equality, according to the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), is an essential component of a sustainable tourism industry. Yet progress is too slow. As a whole, the sector has paid scant attention to the rights and status of women, especially to those in poorer countries, and to the impact that tourism has on their lives and livelihoods.
Why is a gender perspective important in the theory, development and practice of tourism? Without women’s economic contribution, the tourism and hospitality industry would collapse. They make up over half of the formal sector, and the majority of the informal sector, and they are far more likely than men to be found in lower-paid, unskilled, often back-breaking jobs. They also tend to work exclusively with women: stereotypical expectations of women’s role in society and gender segregation affects pay, access to training and, hence, to career progression and decision-making positions. Few women are in management jobs, either in the public or private sector. Finally, much of women’s work is unpaid, with women contributing to family businesses and bearing the main brunt of domestic and care responsibilities. Where women suffer from poor working conditions and are excluded from fair inclusion in both the formal and informal sectors, they and their societies suffer.
The lack of equal opportunities for women, particularly in decision-making processes, has a negative impact not only on their personal and professional lives, it is detrimental to their families and whole communities. The absence of women at the heart of decision-making in tourism continues to stall the advancement of women, men and their families, whether in rural Africa or urban Europe.
Equality in Tourism believes that without a rigorous gender analysis in the thinking, development, practice and evaluation of tourism, women will continue to be exploited. In the same way as a human rights approach to business is now recognised as integral to sustainability, so must gender.