Tourism also has another superpower: the majority of its workforce is female. With such a broad geographical reach, and a huge range of skills required, tourism has the opportunity to pull women out of poverty, equip them with skills and provide dignified, sustainable employment. In struggling nations, it is invariably the women who struggle most, as any semblance of equality falls away. Women and girls are disadvantaged from the outset by a lack of access to education, scant maternity benefits, cultural expectations about the woman’s role in the home, and inherent gender bias in the workplace.
So – the tourism industry holds a huge amount of potential. But as the UN World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) 2010 report
revealed, the details behind the statistics are not quite so equal. The majority of these women are concentrated in lower level jobs – cooking, cleaning, serving and clerical work, and for these roles they are paid on average 10 to 15 percent less than male staff. In addition, a lot of women undertake unpaid roles within tourism – supporting family businesses as invisible customer service providers, chambermaids, PAs and so on.