Director Tricia Barnett has an article in the new autumn issue of the Tourism Society’s Journal: ‘Will tourism recognise the contribution of women?‘ which explores why the hospitality and tourism industry is not much interested in gender equality. You can read the article here.
Approaching industry players to get some answers proved hard. Gavin Bate, Director of Adventure Alternative, was the only person she found who was prepared to be quoted. He identified the resistance to adopting gender equality into the industry as “the same as the climate change tipping point. It’s been passed – yet still businesses won’t change their practices until thier clients demand it and it starts to affect the bottom line. The debate washes around and it’s easy to ignore. There is no pressure to change even though there’s a general moral consensus on the need to change. The same is true of sustainable tourism. There’s no interest in adjusting a business model if it is not affecting the bottom line. Business is business.”
It was easier approaching Unite, the union covering hospitality workers. Following up on a feature in The Observer which exposed the sorry fact that Britain’s hotel workers are bullied, underpaid and have few rights, Ewa Jasiewicz, a part-time organiser supported by Unite, explained that it takes a brave hotel worker to join a union. “Housekeepers are on their own, room after room with only an hour for lunch. They’re in a vicious circle. The workers know they are vulnerable and there is the fear factor. The turnover is high and there is little experience of collective action.” Union representation in the hospitality industry is amongst the lowest in this country. The majority of low paid workers in hotels are women. Women make up 58.2% of the workforce in the accommodation sector.
Equality in Tourism wants to engage with people working in tourism and hospitality to understand what the obstacles and opportunities are in order for women to have equal conditions and opportunities in their workplace as men. Please join us at the World Travel Market at our session: Gender Equality in Tourism: How can it be achieved? Wednesday 4th November at 2.00 pm South Gallery 15 & 16.