Tourism leads other sectors in advancing gender equality – UNWTO

07 Nov 2019, 12:00 am
Financial Nigeria


The report shows majority (54 per cent) of the tourism workforce worldwide is female.

Transcorp Hilton, Abuja

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), in collaboration with UN Women, the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), World Bank Group and Amadeus, has launched the second edition of the Global Report on Women in Tourism. The publication highlights the progress the global tourism sector has made in advancing gender equality and empowering all women and girls. In other words, the report looks at the tourism sector's contribution towards the UN's Sustainable Development Goal 5.  

According to the UN, gender unemployment gap is wider with women who are more likely to be unemployed than men. Goal 5 of the SDGs aims to empower women and girls to reach their full potential. This requires eliminating all forms of discrimination and violence against them,

The UNWTO, which is the UN agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism, says the tourism sector leads other sectors of the economy in empowering women. The sector is advancing gender equality across five areas, namely, employment; entrepreneurship; education and training; leadership, policy and decision-making; and community and civil society.  

The report says the tourism sector provides decent work for women. Women’s businesses in the sector lead to women’s economic empowerment. The report also says tourism education and training promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the sector. Women are leaders in the tourism sector and are represented and influential in decision-making spaces. In the area of community and civil society, tourism empowers women to work collectively for justice and gender equality.

The key findings of the report show that 54 per cent of people employed in tourism are women compared to 39 per cent in the broader economy. The wage-gap in the sector is smaller. Women in tourism earn 14.7 per cent less than men; compared to 16.8 per cent wage-gap in the broader economy. The report also finds that tourism offers women more opportunities for leadership roles: 23 per cent of tourism ministers are female. But in the overall government cabinets, only 20.7 per cent of ministers are women.

The second edition of the Global Report on Women in Tourism 2019, which was released today, follows the first edition, released in 2010. The report also shows that more and more women are challenging gender stereotypes in the sector.

“Tourism is leading the charge for female empowerment all over the world,” said WTO’s Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili. “Across the private and public sectors, women are harnessing the potential of tourism to become financially independent, challenge stereotypes and starting their own businesses.”

For instance, in Morocco, women have been issued tour guide licenses for the first time. An airline in the United Kingdom has doubled the number of female pilots they employ and Uganda’s Hotel Owner’s Association is now lead by its first female CEO.

The report also shows technology has also been a catalyst for empowerment, providing women with access to more training opportunities and stimulating female entrepreneurship through easier access to the tourism market. In the public sector, policy-makers are waking up to the importance of gender equality in tourism and putting measures in place to ensure women fairly share the benefits that tourism can bring.