Gender and Tourism

Logo-CEM_eDid you know…?
• In most regions of the world, women make up the majority of the tourism workforce
• Women tend to be concentrated in the lowest paid and lowest status jobs in tourism
• Women perform a large amount of unpaid work in family tourism businesses.



As a specialised UN agency in the field of tourism, UNWTO is committed to enhancing the positive impact of tourism development on women’s lives, and, in so doing, contributing to the achievement of the Third Millennium Development Goal – promote gender equality and women’s empowerment. In this spirit, UNWTO dedicated World Tourism Day in 2007 to the theme of ‘tourism opens doors for women’. Subsequently, a Forum on Women in Tourism was held at the 2008 edition of the ITB Berlin fair. Since that same year, UNWTO has been working – through its Ethical and Social Dimensions of Tourism (ESDT) Programme – in partnership with UN Women (formerly UNIFEM) to bring gender issues to the forefront of the tourism industry, promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment and encouraging member states to mainstream gender issues in their respective tourism policies.




The Global Report on Women in Tourism – officially launched at ITB Berlin in March 2011 – constitutes the first phase of this close collaboration. As the first attempt to map women’s active participation in the tourism industry worldwide, the Global Report represents a landmark in the field of tourism and gender, focusing on five main areas: employment, entrepreneurship, leadership, community and education. In the context of responsible tourism and local development, this study seeks to demonstrate that tourism can act as a vehicle for the empowerment of women whilst highlighting the remaining challenges for gender equality in tourism. At the launch event, UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai noted that: ‘This report highlights the crucial role tourism plays in empowering women politically, socially and economically. But it makes it very clear that more must be done to close the gender gap, in particular ensuring equal pay for men and women for equal work, raising employment quality and ending all discrimination’.



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