Publication Date



[Excerpt] 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. They are employed in a wide variety of roles, including as cleaners and kitchen staff, front-line customer service workers and senior management. The recruitment, retention and promotion of talented women for technical and managerial leadership positions will be necessary to meet the future skills and productivity requirements of the sector. Moreover, women will comprise an even larger proportion of the sector‟s client base as more will travel for business and leisure. This too will have an impact on gender equality in the recruitment of employees.

This working paper highlights the structural and cultural issues which determine the roles that women play within the HCT workforce and the strategies which can make a difference to their status and opportunities within the industry. Some of these issues relate to occupational sex segregation, wage parity, career opportunities, the role of women within micro-enterprises and the informal hotel/catering/tourism economy. The links between equality of opportunity and treatment for women and men in quality jobs, workforce development, training opportunities and employment in the sector have been explored to a certain degree at national or local levels. However, there is less information regarding gender equality provisions and major international companies in global and regional contexts. The findings of this study point to issues of importance for employment of women as a basis for future dialogue. They also highlight important innovations, good practices and interesting case studies in support of future human resources planning for governments, employers‟ and workers‟ organizations.


Suggested Citation
Baum, T. (2013). International perspectives on women and work in hotels, catering and tourism. Geneva: International Labour Organization.