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Tourism Sector Can Promote Gender Equality, Says UN Report


y 1The UNWTO/UN Women Global Report on Women in Tourism has shown that tourism can offer significant opportunities to narrow the gender gap in employment and entrepreneurship as women are nearly twice as likely to be employers in tourism as compared to other sectors.

The Report also shows that women are well represented in service and clerical level jobs, but poorly represented at professional levels and earns 10 percent to 15 percent less than their male counterparts.
One of the Report findings also indicates that a large amount of unpaid work is being carried out by women in family tourism businesses.

Therefore, on the occasion of International Women’s Day, UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, has called upon the tourism sector to step up policies and businesses practices that promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Rifai noted that “though in most regions women make up the majority of the tourism workforce, they tend to be concentrated in the lowest paid and lowest status jobs and perform a large amount of unpaid work in family tourism businesses”.

Governments and the private sector have a major role to play in promoting policies that step up equality and women’s empowerment. “There is a particularly important opportunity to promote empowerment through entrepreneurship as tourism has almost twice as many women employers as other sectors”, he added.

On the occasion of one of the biggest tourism fairs in the world, ITB Berlin, held 4-8 March, UNWTO’s event on Community Empowerment through Creative Industries and Tourism stressed the role that tourism can play in building better livelihoods for women, particularly in rural areas.

“The growth rate of this sector requires us to look beyond its economic value and identify how to make it a force for positive transformation. We need not to curb this growth but to harness it – this does not happen by itself – we need to focus our activity in fostering the integration of the most vulnerable into the tourism value chains”, said Rifai opening the event.

The UNWTO/UN Women Global Report on Women in Tourism includes detailed recommendations for national tourism administrations and the private sector in the areas of employment, entrepreneurship, education, leadership and community development.

According to UNWTO, the report provides a much clearer picture of the participation and status of women in the tourism industry than any previously available.

“It identifies where tourism can provide opportunities for income generation and economic empowerment for women, and other areas in which there are currently significant barriers to women’s success.”

The report is divided into five thematic strands – Employment, Entrepreneurship, Education, Leadership and Community – and is based predominantly on ILO data for the Caribbean, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Oceania.

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