Women's empowerment and tourism
Tourism has a pivotal role to play in achieving the objectives at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular the commitments to gender equality and the empowerment of women of Sustainable Development Goal 5.
As a specialised UN agency in the field of tourism, UN Tourism is committed to enhancing the positive impact of tourism development on women’s lives, and, in so doing, contributing to the achievement of the Fifth Sustainable Development Goal – "achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls". Since 2007, UN Tourism has been working – through its Ethics, Culture and Social Responsability Department - in partnership with UN Women and a range of external partners across the globe, to bring gender issues to the forefront of the tourism sector, promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment and encouraging member states to mainstream gender issues in their respective tourism policies.
Centre Stage Programme
The UN Tourism ‘Centre Stage’ programme provides support and builds capacity for work towards gender equality in tourism governmental institutions, businesses and civil society organizations.
The main activities include targeted training programmes, measures to boost female career progression, a communication strategy to boost visibility, membership of a global network, improvements to the legal framework and the collection of sex-disaggregated tourism employment data.
Gender Equality in Tourism Training
UN Tourism has developed the online Gender Equality in Tourism Training course that is available for free on the atingi.org platform. The course is designed for tourism workers of any level from the public sector or businesses and it takes one hour to complete. You will learn about gender equality in the tourism sector and earn a certificate once you complete all of the modules.
Take the course and see how you can make a difference today!
Gender Mainstreaming Guidelines
These twin publications for the public and private sectors respectively, are UN Tourism flagship guidance on gender in tourism, as endorsed by the 117th Executive Council.
They provide specific tools to support tourism institutions and businesses to integrate gender considerations into their policies, programming and strategies and boost the opportunities tourism offers for women's empowerment.
Gender Mainstreaming Guidelines for the Public Sector.
Gender-inclusive Strategy for Tourism Businesses.
Survey on the Gendered Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Tourism Employment
UN Tourism conducted a two-wave survey under the Centre Stage programme to explore the differing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on employment and working conditions between men and women in the tourism sector. The surveys were conducted in the four Centre Stage pilot countries – Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Jordan and Mexico. This Survey Report analyses the results of the surveys and reveals in detail the disproportionate impact that the pandemic had on women in the sector.
Snapshot of Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment in National Tourism Strategies
UN Tourism published this Snapshot Publication under the Centre Stage programme to explore how gender issues and women’s empowerment are integrated into national tourism policies and strategies. This desk-based study provides an overview of the study of 70 publicly-available strategies and offers recommendations to policymakers for achieving ‘gender-transformative’ tourism policies. This publication compiles national tourism policies and strategies used for the preparation of the main report.
Regional Report on Women in Tourism in Asia & the Pacific
The Regional Report on Women in Tourism in Asia and the Pacific continues UN Tourism’s series of in-depth studies in different world regions. The report maps the participation of women in the tourism sector across the region. In doing so, it assesses the contribution of tourism to advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5 – to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. The report aims to inform further work on gender equality and equip stakeholders with the tools they need to boost women’s empowerment in the region’s tourism sector.
Regional Conference on women's empowerment in tourism for Asia and the Pacific
The UN Tourism Regional Conference on the Empowerment of Women in Tourism in Asia and the Pacific –the first event on the topic organized by UN Tourism jointly with Malaysia’s Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture – brought together more than 500 key virtual participants in addition to around 100 local in-person stakeholders. Alongside UN Tourism experts, government policymakers, UN Women representatives, high-level representatives of women’s associations and NGOs, joined leading academics to address some of the key challenges and opportunities for women in tourism in the region.
The aim of this conference was to contribute to international efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG5) on gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in light of how the pandemic has worsened the socio-economic situation of the female tourism workforce in the region.
UN Tourism Webinar 'Women of the Middle East and Tourism in 60 minutes'
Following the publication of the Regional Report on Women in Tourism in the Middle East in December 2020, UN Tourism presents 'Women of the Middle East and Tourism in 60 Minutes' - a webinar bringing together the public and private tourism sectors of the region.
The distinguished panelists debate and discuss the main issues affecting women's participation in tourism, focusing on enabling factors, challenges and concrete measures that can be put in place to help tourism contribute to greater gender equality in the region.
COVID 19 – An Inclusive Response for Women
This issue of the 'UN Tourism Inclusive Recovery Guide' series focuses on women in tourism and was developed by the UN Tourism Ethics, Culture and Social Responsibility Department, in collaboration with UN Women. It is a response to the continuing crisis caused by COVID-19 and an update on the initial recommendations issued by UN Tourism in May 2020. UN Tourism extends special thanks to UN Women for contributing with their valuable technical input and expertise.
The UN Tourism Inclusive Recovery Guide series on the sociocultural impacts of COVID-19 are living guidelines, subject to revision as the health situation evolves and more information becomes available on the most effective ways to make tourism inclusive and accessible for all.
Regional Report on Women in Tourism in the Middle East
The Regional Report on Women in the Middle East maps the participation of women in the tourism sector across the region prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. In doing so, it assesses the contribution of tourism to advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5 - to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
The report, compiled to mark the 2020 G20 Saudi Presidency, aims to inform further work on gender equality and equip stakeholders with tools they need to boost women's empowerment in the region's tourism sector.
Regional Congress on Women in Tourism - Focus on Africa
The first UN Tourism Regional Congress on Women’s Empowerment in the Tourism Sector – Focus on Africa took place in Accra, Ghana from 25 to 27 November 2019. The congress brought together leading voices and experts from across Africa to discuss gender mainstreaming, the current challenges and opportunities faces by women in tourism in the region and the participation of women in education, entrepreneurship and leadership.
The aim of this conference was to contribute to international efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG5) on gender equality and the empowerment of women.
Action Plan on Women in Tourism
Based on the findings and recommendations of the Global Report on Women in Tourism, Second Edition, UN Tourism in collaboration with UN Women, the German Development Agency GIZ, World Bank Group and Amadeus has produced an Action Plan that contains a series of concrete actions for tourism stakeholders to take that would boost the sector’s empowering potential for women.
The Action Plan’s recommendations were adopted by the G20 Tourism Ministers in 2019, endorsed by the UN Tourism Executive Council in 2020 and will form the basis of an implementation programme with Member States expected to begin in 2021.
UN Tourism developed a pilot programme to tackle the systematic inequalities faced by Indigenous Women in Guatemala, Mexico and Peru.
Selected for the Paris Peace Forum 2020, more information on the programme can be found here.
Global Report on Women in Tourism, Second Edition
Following the success of the first Global Report on Women in Tourism in 2010, the second edition explores how the situation for gender equality and women’s empowerment has evolved across the five main thematic areas – Employment, Entrepreneurship, Education, Leadership and Community.
The creation of the Global Report on Women in Tourism, Second Edition arose from the joint commitment of the World Tourism Organization (UN Tourism) and UN Women, the German Development Agency GIZ, World Bank and Amadeus, with the aim to illustrate the contribution tourism is making towards the UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 - Achieving Gender Equality and Empowering all Women and Girls.
By exploring the five thematic areas, with the use of quantitative data and in-depth case studies, corresponding thematic goals were developed to demonstrate what gender equality and women’s empowerment in tourism would look like. This Second Global Report on Women in Tourism outlines key regional trends, including the findings of in depth analyses of regional case studies in four regions. The report also includes an extensive analysis of four key branches of the tourism sector and a strengthened qualitative dimension, including a literature review, field research, interviews and a rich tapestry of in-depth case studies from across the globe.
The Global Report on Women in Tourism 2010 was officially launched at ITB Berlin in March 2011. 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 confirms that tourism can act as a vehicle for the empowerment of women whilst highlighting the remaining challenges for gender equality in tourism.
Why Gender and Tourism?
While the world has achieved progress towards gender equality and women’s empowerment under the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women, women and girls continue to suffer discrimination and violence in every part of the world including the tourism sector.
First, national governments and international organizations are committed to gender equality through a series of commitments: the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular Sustainable Development Goal 5. Gender equality and women’s empowerment are fundamental components of just, equitable societies. Tourism has been proven to provide pathways to empowerment, and that the opportunity for tourism to make a difference in this area should be maximized.
Second, due to women’s concentration in lower status and lower paid jobs in tourism, their potential to contribute fully is currently untapped. Empowering women to participate fully in economic life is essential to building strong economies; creating more stable and just societies; achieving internationally agreed goals for development, sustainability and human rights; and improving the quality of life of women, and consequently, that of communities. For the tourism sector, the impact of greater gender equality and women’s empowerment would be highly beneficial, because diverse and gender equitable organizations perform better.