- According to the World Travel Tourism Council (WTTC) report, ‘Travel & Tourism- Driving Women’s Success 2019’ increasing female employment plays a role in reducing poverty, sustaining economic growth, and supporting women’s empowerment and independence.
- Travel & tourism sector provides women with more opportunities for workforce participation, leadership, entrepreneurship and empowerment than many other sectors, particularly in developing countries.
- The female share in Travel & Tourism’s employment is greater than that of the overall economy in eleven of the nineteen G20 countries in this study.
- Countries which have experienced particularly strong growth in Travel & Tourism GDP over the years 2007 to 2017, have also witnessed a significant improvement in the share of women’s employment in the sector.
- Despite the progress made so far towards gender equality, many challenges persist. Policies best aimed at increasing women’s employment generally, and in travel & tourism, are those that help ensure women have access to skills and talent development to enter the labour force and that sufficiently address inequalities in the workplace.
Challenges for women in the labour market
While many countries have made significant strides towards gender parity across education, health, economic and political dimensions, there remains much to be done to reach full equality. Despite the progress made so far, women’s prospects in the world of work are far from being equal to men’s. Overall, women’s employment is still more likely to be concentrated in lower status and lower paid jobs and in jobs that fall outside of labour legislation/protection, social security regulations and collective agreements. Corporate culture is also a key driver for women’s confidence and equality in the workplace. Indeed, women in most countries earn, on average, only 60 to 75 per cent of men’s wages. Moreover, far fewer women than men reach the top-level positions. According to the World Economic Forum, women hold only 34% of managerial positions, and on average, just 18% of government ministers are women.
Travel & Tourism provides great opportunities for women’s employment
Travel & Tourism can provide women with more opportunities for workforce participation, leadership, entrepreneurship and empowerment than many other sectors, particularly in developing countries and as such it can have a tremendous effect on poverty reduction in rural communities. At the macro level, a stronger representation of women in Travel & Tourism relative to other areas of economy is due to the sector’s unique characteristics: greater emphasis on personal and hospitality skills, flexible working opportunities, and increased options for entrepreneurship that do not require heavy startup financing. Across the world, Travel & Tourism has almost twice as many female employers than other sectors, proving that significant opportunities exist in the sector for women to run their own businesses.
Women’s employment in Travel & Tourism
The female share in Travel & Tourism’s employment is greater than that of the overall economy in eleven G20 countries and across the G20, women account on average for 46.4% of Travel & Tourism employment compared with 43.3% employment in the economy as a whole. The difference between the female share of employment in Travel & Tourism and the overall economy is highest in Mexico (50.8% v. 36.4%), followed by South Korea (53.0% v. 42.0%) and South Africa (53.6% v. 43.7%). Meanwhile, women’s share in the sector’s employment is in line with the overall economy in two of the world’s largest Travel & Tourism powerhouses, the USA (46.4% v. 46.9%) and China (43.6% v. 43.9%). This contrasts with India, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, where the female share of employment in tourism significantly trails that of the total economy, by 12.1%, 8.5% and 7.9%, respectively.
The rate of increase in women’s share of Travel & Tourism’s employment is more than double that of the overall economy in all six countries. In contrast, women’s share of employment in Travel & Tourism has fallen to be more in line with the economy average of female employment in some developed countries.
Policies to support women’s employment in Travel & Tourism
- Improve women’s access to better quality jobs and promote equal • access to opportunities
- Promote women’s education and training
- Ensure women earn the same as men for equivalent work and • commit to reduce the gender pay gap Promote women’s leadership
- Provide attractive childcare, tax, social benefits, maternity • protection, and incentives to return to work
- Increase flexible work arrangements
- Combat unconscious bias
- Inform/educate employers about the benefits of employing • women
- Promote women’s entrepreneurship and facilitate the equal access • to start-up grants.