Considering that:
1- Tourism is a major industry
2- Women are the majority of occupied
3- Women’s pay is too low
4- Restricting the gender gap will increase global SDP
5- Women’s projects in tourism are offering more sustainability
6- Travellers ask ever more sustainability
In conclusion:
7- A different work policy can make more women to work better in better tourism projects, with the relief of the all society, as a real tool for the 3 SDGs targeting tourism: 8.9, 12b, 14.7. and the SDG 5 about gender equality

1. Tourism is a major industry
WTTC’s latest annual research, in conjunction with Oxford Economics, shows that Travel & Tourism’s contribution to world GDP outpaced the global economy for the sixth consecutive year in 2016, rising to a total of 10.2% of world GDP (US$7.6 trillion). The sector now supports 292 million people in employment – that’s 1 in 10 jobs on the planet. (Direct, indirect, induced jobs)
(in 2027 is expected 1 in 9 for 380 million employed) .
( )

2. Women are the majority
How many women are working in tourism? << As we don’t have official data- experts at ILO  say - we cannot directly conclude it. The total number of women working in the industry may actually be under represented in the numbers. Moreover, much of the sector’s workforce is under informal working relationships>>.
See what two experts wrote to GRT:
Rochelle Turner,  Research Director, World Travel & Tourism Council: “ The statistics showing proportion of women in the Travel & Tourism workforce differ quite considerably by country. So, while I think that we could safely say at least half of all jobs in T&T are held by women. it’s difficult for me to go much further than that, at a global level,  without other research to back it up.  What we do know, however is that female employment is concentrated towards the lower paying service and clerical jobs and much more needs to be done to bring women into senior management positions”.

Durang Bosu Mullick , Equations: “Current data are not designed to assess the wellbeing of the workforce. These limitations assume particular significance in the light of global trends, that favour more independent work, flexible or part-time jobs, and supplementary income generation activities. So in India too, there is no disaggregated data on women, the tourism industry has NEVER conducted any broad based survey”.

Lucie Servoz, Ilo: “Female occupation in tourism sees the most cases of informal situations”

Even considering that statistics are very subjecives, that wages are low compared to other sectors, that women find themselves significantly under-represented in higher paid and managerial positions, that they work in the most vulnerable jobs, part-time, temporary divergence between qualifications and workplace reality, we at GRT beleive that gender is around 60% of the workforce, as we summarise from several documents below.

• New research from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and Oxford Economics shows that Travel & Tourism employs a higher proportion of women and young people than is represented in the workforce as a whole. It is a sector that thrives on entrepreneurship and as such offers women prospects for self employment which are less accessible in other sectors. One element of the research analyses the proportion of women in the workforce. In four of the countries analysed, Travel & Tourism has a significantly higher proportion of female workers than the overall economy. In each, women make up less than half of the total workforce yet represent over 60% of Travel & Tourism employment. Australia has the highest proportion of females working in Travel & Tourism (66%), which is over ten percentage points above the rate for the workforce as a whole. The only exception was found for Turkey, where a noticeable different employment distribution is observed. A much smaller proportion of Turkish women is employed, and females are even more underrepresented in the Travel & Tourism at 27.3% (compared to 29.8% of the total workforce). In looking at this data, it is relevant to keep in mind that, according to the UNWTO and UN Women report, women are overly represented in the informal sector for Travel & Tourism. Therefore, the total number of women working in the industry may actually be underrepresented in these numbers.
( )

• Hotels, catering and tourism (HCT) is a large and fast-growing service sector, with an average female participation of 55.5 per cent at global level and up to 70 per cent at regional level.
( )

• In Europe. Tourism creates jobs for women
The tourism industry is a major employer of women (see Table 2, Figure 4 and Table 2A in the excel file). Compared with the total non-financial business economy, where 36 % of people employed are female, the labour force of the tourism industries includes more female workers (58%) than male workers. The highest proportions are seen in accommodation (60 %), and in travel agencies and tour operators (64 %). Even though nearly one in three women working in the tourism industries works part-time (compared with one in seven men), women working full-time still represent the biggest share of employment (40 %, see Figure 4)
( )

• In Italy ISNART calculated that 1 out of 3 enterpreneurs is female (5 in other sectors) ,for a total of 136.132 enterprises (10,3%),  women are 53% of total workers, 84% in cleaning and cooking, 46% in management, 40% of travel agents, 1/3 in catering, drink and food, guides. Unioncamere calculated that in tourism women make 55% of total workers in hotels, 48% in restaurants, 84% at room service, 14% of managers, 4% of sales management. On the total of 59.284 young people entreprises initiatives in food and hospitality, 34,5 % are female enterprises ,

• According to tourism’s Ngos and enterprises project managers, most women who at first work illegally, part time and in family business, become the best drivers of change, and projects are longer lasting.

• RURAL: Another important sector related
In Italy the “agriturismi” (rural stay) are 22.000, in 2016 and 2017 the number of licences grew of 1,9 per year and 12 milion people visited them. The women managing are growing: they are now one out of three for a total of 36% (in Tuscany 40%). They are actually farming and breeding, but also producing artcrafts, oil, marmalades, in a large range of activities.
It is clear (if not yet calculated) that in the all Mediterranean Countries rural women are involved in tourism projects. There are a few studies, for example, in Spain, or about rural women associated offering b+b in Turkey, or about rural women selling products such as argan in Morocco. These many situations are adding numbers and issues, to the sum of women workers in tourism.

• This is how ILO examines the Sustainable tourism rural areas issue: << Empowering women is key not only to the wellbeing of individuals, families and rural communities, but also to overall productivity and economic prosperity. The tourism industry, where women account for up to 70 per cent of the workforce, has great potential to support the livelihoods of rural women. This would, however, require paying particular attention to the decent work deficits that they face>>.

• Sometimes, women are more represented in advanced sectors and have more opportunity for advancement A study in Bulgaria revealed that 71% of managers and administrators in tourism are women compared to just 29% in the country as a whole. This is further reinforced by a 1997 European Union study, which discovered that women held 63% of management positions in tourism. Explanations for the tendency for women to be more represented in tourism than in other sectors vary, but it may be due to the following unique characteristics of the tourism sector: • Less emphasis on formal education and training; • Greater emphasis on personal and hospitality skills; • Higher prevalence of part-time and work-from-home options; • Increased options for entrepreneurship that do not require heavy start-up financing;  • Opportunities through the sharing economy for women through online platforms, such as Airbnb, Uber, and Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO). (

3. Women are paid less
The World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report — which analyzes disparities in health, education, economy, and politics — found that the overall average gender gap rose to 32%, up from 31.7% in 2016.  Countries, communities, and economies cannot prosper without the equal participation of both women and men. Yet, women face greater hurdles in almost all spheres of economic activity, from access to finance and assets to technology and peer-to-peer networks.

One of the next steps for the research, will be to investigate tourism women's earning. This is what we found out up to now:
<<The statistics showing proportion of women in the Travel & Tourism workforce differ quite considerably by country- told us Rochelle Turner, Research Director, World Travel & Tourism Council -. In a study that WTTC completed in 2013 on five countries, we found that four had rates of over 60% female employment, higher than the national employment average in their respective countries, but in one (Turkey), women were underrepresented at only 27.3% and below the national average. A report with a wider geographic spread, albeit limited to hotels and catering from the ILO and UNWTO in 2010 found an average rate of 48%. However, this data also ignores North America and Europe which are likely to have higher rates of female employment.
So, while I think that we could safely say at least half of all jobs in T&T are held by women, it’s difficult for me to go much further than that, at a global level, without other research to back it up. For 2017, that would be 146 million jobs supported by T&T.
What we do know, however is that female employment is concentrated towards the lower paying service and clerical jobs and much more needs to be done to bring women into senior management positions>>.

• A major survey carried out jointly by the UN World Tourism Organisation and the UN Fund for Women in 2010 -The Global Report on Women in Tourism 2010 - women are still disproportionately concentrated in low paid, low status, gender-stereotyped and insecure employment.
( )

• In Italy, according to Dora Iacobelli of Women cooperative and enterprises; It is too difficult to achieve financing. We must simplify procedures. Envisage loans for education. Women centered enterprises tend not to ask for credits.

• Gender inequality is manifested in a reality that “women perform 66 per cent of the world‟s work, produce 50 per cent of the food, but earn 10 per cent of the income and own 1 per cent of the property.” The reasons for this situation are widespread: women have lower access to land, capital and education than men, women tend to work at home or family enterprises unprotected by law, and women face discrimination and trouble reconciling with work and family life. However, there is evidence of increasing participation by women in the formal economy of more developed countries. Many of the characteristics of wider employment, such as a high level of undeclared work, part-time, temporary and seasonal work, work during irregular hours and lack of education are also present in HCT.
( )

• The ILO Guidelines on decent work and socially responsible tourism also refer to wage differences between women and men in the tourism industry, as in the ILO’s Global Wage Report
( )

• Women gross hourly earnings in accommodation and food services are below those of men in European countries and are lower represented in lower skills jobs.
Gender Discrimination and Pay Gap in tourism labour market by Alka Abadic

• In Portugal, according to Aviedo University Research Gentour: Limited numbers of women are instrumental in Portuguese tourism businesses’ innovation process, largely because of a gendered limitation to women’s hierarchical progression. The fact that tourism is made up of small companies, prevents gender equality programs that allow greater flexibility at work, to be feasible. Interestingly, changing family structures, fuelled by increased divorce rates that give men more childcare responsibilities, are changing gender roles within the tourism labour market. However, higher hierarchical positions remain stubbornly in the hands of men, due to political placings and masculinised economic discourses.

• The Gender Pay Gap  Across G20 and OECD countries median monthly earnings for women are on average 17 per cent below those of men. Elsewhere the situation is no better.  For women of colour, immigrant women and mothers, the gap widens  The lack in many countries of reliable sex-disaggregated data on wages conceals the existence of a gender pay gap
( )

• As for salaries, it is impossible to make a general rule, so we just took few of the newest 2017 data in tourism industry from the Countries’ Reports:
- In Italy, on average, men make 150 euros more per year.
- In Norway CEO are at 20% women (compared to 6% in other industries ), but for them the salary gap il wider because they usually work in smaller firms (and the gap is larger than in manufacturing).
( )

- In the case of Australia, where tourism is largely a female-dominated industry, study found that in the tourism sector women are earning 8.5 per cent less than males, while in the hospitality sector women are earning 7.5 per cent less.
( )

In Brasil the spread between the yields for both genres in the sector grows continually with age and decreases with education. ( )
- In Spain male workers earn an average 6,7% higher montly wages than their female counterpart. (studies from prof. Munoz-Bullon)
- A study by Alka Obadic shows that in Europe the gender pay gap and hierarchical status are still facing with different challenges and risks
( )

4. Restricting the gender gap will increase global SDP
In the Economic Case for Gender Parity the data say that:
$28 trillion of additional annual GDP in 2025 in the full-potential scenario of bridging the gender gap — equivalent to the combined U.S. and China economies today. $12 trillion could be added in 2025 if all countries matched their best-in-region country in progress toward gender parity. Equal to two times the likely contribution of women to global GDP growth in the business-as-usual scenario.
According to Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg: “If we are to succeed in achieving poverty eradication and sustainable development, it is vital that the resources represented by women and girls are used to the full. Women’s contributions will be decisive in making it possible to reach the SDGs by 2030. Achieving greater gender equality by 2030 is imperative, and will benefit us all.”
( )

What are the initiatives for restricting the gender gap?
• Member states have decided to join forces with a view of achieving equal pay for work of equal value by 20130. EPIC is a multistakeholders alliance , for best practices diffusion and statistics.
( )

• Various studies have suggested that improving gender parity may result in significant economic dividends, which vary depending on the situation of different economies and the specific challenges they are facing. Notable recent estimates suggest that economic gender parity could add an additional $250 billion to the GDP of the United Kingdom, $1,750 billion to that of the United States, $550 billion to Japan’s, $320 billion to France’s and $310 billion to the GDP of Germany. Other recent estimates suggest that China could see a $2.5 trillion GDP increase from gender parity and that the world as a whole could increase global GDP by $5.3 trillion by 2025 if it closed the gender gap in economic participation by 25% over the same period.
( )

• The annual credit gap for female entrepreneurs, for example, is nearly $300 billion. This impedes women’s ability to start or expand their businesses, reducing opportunities to create jobs or boost economies.

• In the ILO-Gallup report, “TOWARDS A BETTER FUTURE FOR WOMEN AND WORK: VOICES OF WOMEN AND MEN ”, which was conducted in 142 countries and territories and surveyed almost 149,000 adults: A total of 70 per cent of women and a similar 66 per cent of men would prefer that women work at paid jobs. Each of these figures are more than double the percentages of those who would prefer women to stay at home. Women worldwide would prefer to be either working at paid jobs (29 per cent)1 or be in situations in which they could both work and take care of their families (41 per cent)
( )

• A new McKinsey Global Institute report finds that $12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s equality. In a “full potential” scenario in which women play an identical role in labor markets to that of men, as much as $28 trillion, or 26 percent, could be added to global annual GDP by 2025.
( )

• Across G20 and OECD countries median monthly earnings for women are on average 17 per cent below those of men. Elsewhere the situation is no better.  For women of colour, immigrant women and mothers, the gap widens  The lack in many countries of reliable sex-disaggregated data on wages conceals the existence of a gender pay gap
ITC She Trades and Trade Compass, Creating quality jobs at home is one of the most interesting initiatives.
( )

5. Women’s projects in tourism are offering more sustainability
Women’s activities can be considered a specific product in the tourism market. If we line-up all the women we talk with and about in our website, we find out that their “products” mirror at square the demand of new sustainable tourisms. (
According to the economist Valeria Majone - who specifically studied the cases- "Women are answering positively to tourism, as they are more caring and attentive to others, to the environment, to future generations. They are more keen to network, to compete in shared values, in quality, in common issues. They are fully aware of how much the local culture and territory are a value, therefore, they safeguard and highlight them".
As Daniela Alarcon says, where tourism has been used to empower a community, women have been the key for success.
(GRT interview)

If women were empowered, not only would they gain as individuals, but the all economy will also gain, as women will be able to better creating tourism products.
Women are extremely adept and competent in creating, marketing, promoting and managing tourism. The increase of female potential offers an advantage to the social and economic development for men and women, in all sectors, including tourism.
In fact, we know that there is a growing number of travelers that buy travels if they know that they are Ethical. And Gender is one of the main issues.
(from GRT enquiry about several NGOs projects)

Multi-skilling and core skills, enabling individuals to constantly acquire and apply new knowledge and skills, are critical to lifelong learning and very much in demand in the sector.
These include, inter alia, soft skills such as languages, information and communication technologies, interaction with customers and co-workers, organization and management at the workplace, marketing, understanding of different traditions, cultures and cultural heritages, problem-solving, and planning and coordination. Technical skills embrace, for example, food safety compliance, technology, services or culinary skills, and, for some jobs, such as animation, also artistic and creative skills.
ILO guidelines on decent work and socially responsible tourism

6. Travellers ask ever more sustainability
• The development of non-traditional tourism and small-scale tourism as opposed to largescale mainstream tourism is on the rise. This includes adventure tourism, cultural tourism, ecotourism, agro-tourism, medical and wellness tourism, technology-driven and on-demand accommodation platforms, low-cost services in transport, online booking and multigenerational travel. This situation should be managed and regulated to avoid an undesirable impact on efforts to achieve decent work and sustainable tourism.
( )

• In fact, we know that there is a growing number of travelers that buy travels if they know that they are Ethical. And Gender is one of the main issues. Women peculiarities are the closest to the new tourism trends (nature, culture, community’s stories, old traditions, eno-gastronomy)
(data from the Italian responsible tour Association and from global tour operators)

• From CREST’s 1917 research: Recent surveys and market studies document the sustained interest among consumers in types of tourism and tourism products that help to protect the environment and bring tangible benefits to local communities.
Responsible Travel is one of several closely related terms that are ethically based. In addition, as the final section of this report demonstrates, a growing number of niche markets also promote responsible tourism.
‘Living like a local’ has become an essential part of getting under the skin of a destination for many travelers. They are looking for more authentic holiday experiences and many holiday companies are now offering people the chance to enjoy hidden gems alongside traditional tourist attractions.24 Globally, 69% of travelers plan on trying something new in 2016, 15% want to try adventure travel for the first time, and 47% say they have visited destinations because of the people and culture of specific countries.25
Tourism, as the largest global service industry and one of the top industries for developing countries, has an important role to play in the response to climate change. Tourism is growing most rapidly in developing countries: between 2010 and 2030, arrivals in emerging destinations are expected to increase at twice the rate (+4.4% a year) of those in advanced economies (+2.2% a year).17 Fortunately, as this report demonstrates, the growth in responsible tourism continues to outpace the growth of the tourism industry as a whole.
( )

  • 7.

    Travel & Tourism’s contribution to world GDP raised to a total of 10.2% of world GDP (US$7.6 trillion).
  • The sector now supports 292 million people in employment (direct and indirect)
  • Women are the most: the total number of women working in the industry is probably around 60% and may actually be underrepresented in these numbers.
  • Women are paid less: earnings for women are on average 17 per cent below those of men (for women of colour, immigrant women and mothers, the gap widens)
  • By restricting the economic gender gap as much as $28 trillion, or 26 percent, could be added to global annual GDP by 2025.
  • 69% of travellers plan to reach new experiences by living like a local: the development of non-traditional tourism and small-scale tourism as opposed to large scale mainstream tourism is on the rise
  • Where tourism has been used to empower a community, women have been the key for success.

    Women in tourism could be approximately 190 million, Their contribution to the tourism is about 3,6 trillion, Closing gender gap in tourism could add to the global tourism’s GDP, around 2 trillion ?
    Couldn’t we use these numbers to spread the word about the important role played by women and the importance of empowering women in tourism?
  • In Conclusion: A different work policy
    In this chapter we list the best gender criterias in tourism
    Tourism is firmly positioned in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Its importance as a driver for job creation and the promotion of local economic development, local culture and products is reflected in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 8, 12 and 14 which include tourism-specific targets.
    Furthermore, tourism has been identified by the United Nations General Assembly in The Future We Want outcome document (United Nations, 2012) as a significant contributor to sustainable development, and by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as one of the sectors that can lead the transition to the green economy (UNEP, 2011).
    What is causing the gap and what could mend it? According to a recent ILO Gender Campus Seminar, to make equity occupational chances, we should consider: Explained Vs Unexplained, Education and training, Work experience, Occupational gender segregation, Part time Vs full time, Enterprise characteristics, Union density, Discrimination in pay

    Sustainable tourism policies, strategies and programmes should aim at:
    - Policies to promote equality and non-discrimination in the harassment "including gender-based violence.
    - Adapting technical and vocational education and training (TVET) systems, lifelong learning and quality apprenticeship schemes in order to respond to the skills needs of tourism enterprises, with particular attention to youth and women;
    - Improving or establishing the collection of labour market statistics related to tourism disaggregated by age, sex, occupation and employment status, and urban–rural divide, including for planning future skill needs
    - Facilitating access to financial services
    - Temporary work, part-time work, temporary agency work and other multiparty employment arrangements, ambiguous employment relationships and dependent self-employment, are common in the tourism industry where diversity, fragmentation and seasonality are distinct features.
    - Career development policies should be part of HRD strategies.
    - Also ensuring that they include modules on: gender equality issues
    - Tourism enterprises should pay special attention to promotion and career development opportunities, particularly for women, youth and migrant workers as these are groups that represent an underutilized stock of skills in the labour market. Women, in some countries, are under-represented in higher and managerial positions, as well as over-represented in unskilled or semi-skilled work.
    ( )

• Raccomandations: addressing occupational segregation and the gender wage gap by, inter alia, paying special attention to career development for women, including by promoting them on the basis of their qualification. Designing and implementing sustainable tourism policies, for qualifications to higher and managerial positions and in non-traditional areas of work, notably kitchen and engineering departments.

• Recent research shows that, in some countries, women are particularly disadvantaged as they are more likely than men to work in the informal economy, casual, temporary or part-time employment and tend to earn less.
Maternity protection and benefits under social security are particularly important to the ILO guidelines on decent work and socially responsible tourism 40 sector where many women work. Tourism workers or those seeking work in the sector, particularly people and groups vulnerable to discrimination are not always effectively protected under the ILO guidelines on decent work and socially responsible tourism.
( )

• Studying the issues could allow governments and employers‟ and workers‟ organizations to develop strategies which could lead to the promotion of greater gender equality. This is due to significant horizontal and vertical segregation in occupations, as well as in terms of working time, part-time employment and precarious work.
Women are also more likely to play flexible roles than their male counterparts, by undertaking part-time, seasonal, agency and casual work in the sector. Women are also over-represented within informal and marginalised areas of work within HCT and are thus subject to disproportionate exploitation through engagement with dirty work (defined as physically unhygienic or undignified) and prostitution tourism.
The extent and form of female employment in HCT is strongly influenced by cultural, social, religious and political factors. These considerations, together with demographic and wider economic concerns, drive the considerable variation that exists with respect to the quantity and quality of female employment within HCT.
( )

, A Project must consider :

  •  -Access and control over resources.
  •  -Development of capacities to generate income:
  • -Developing women ‘s leadership capacities.
  • -At physical level means defending women’s rights tomake decisions over their own lives.
    there is substantive work to be done for gender to be integrated into the theory and practice of sustainable tourism
  •  -Gender should be integrated withing the current framework.
  • -How can Tourism policies be made more gender sensitive.
  •  -How can budgets be gender inclusive.
  •  -Tourism rarely benefits rural women
  • -Another critical issue is the behavior of tourists
  • -Is compounded by the lack of involvement of women in tourism management
  •  -Paid less for the same job and decision making is mostly assigned to the male minority.
  • - Land distribution policies
  • -Facilitate the participation of women in tourist programmes , to effectively enter into the productive chain, to ensure that women do not remain exclusivel on the lower rung of decision making and participation.
  • Among the barriers: distance from home to work, perceived nature of the work, and family reluctance to allow daughters or wives to work in a predominantly male environment far from home. Low societal belief in their capabilities and less support leads women to have lower self-confidence..
  • Among risks: violation of rights, Unpaid work, strenuous working conditions

(From decent work in the rural economy policies  )

Finally, we agree with Daniela Alarcon, researcher and director of Equality in tourism:
<<In a project the best indicator of progress is the gender: as for investments, there must be gender sensitive participatory planning, analysis, planning in all phases of project, training of all participants, perspective, clear indication of how, what, when and where gender will be mainstreamed, expertise , allocation for specific activities, It is needed a sufficient time, resources, and expertise for successful gender training ¸ hiring gender consultatnts in all partners; harness tensions and resistances periodically. And also critical analysis from a gender perspective; the 2030 Agenda constitutes an opportunity to enhance with analysis of women and gender-based power relations when designing, proposing, creating and implementing any sort of measure.
How to avoid risk of promoting women’s empowerment in tourism for the wrong reason? The right focus is not in terms of numbers (not because they are more there is gender equality). Tourism is associatied with sexual division of labour which confines women to the kitchen, home cleaning and kitchen garden . Without any analysis of the causes of this sexual division of labour, women will remain confined to work that is socially unrecognized and unvalued in economic terms>>.

Gender Equity
Sustainable development goals
Tourism for development, Women and tourism

International Perspectives on Women and Work in Hotels, Catering and Tourism
GLOBAL WAGE REPORT Wage inequality in the workplace
ILO guidelines on decent work and socially responsible tourism
Women and Tourism: Designing for Inclusion
Gender equality and youth employment: Travel & Tourism as a key employer of women and young people
Sustainable Tourism – A Catalyst for Inclusive Socio-economic Development and Poverty Reduction in Rural Areas
Arancha Gonzalez Speeches at International Trade Center

Keep in touch

Subscribe to our Newsletter
La Guida delle Libere viaggiatrici
Join GRT

What women must know to work in tourism
How responsible tourism is usefull to women and community
Where to go for a gender equality backer travel