Female employment in tourism is relatively high and improving

Gender inequality is often deeply rooted: in many countries women have limited or no access to land, capital and education.Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals addresses gender equity and equality “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”.

Since there is no comprehensive data source for gender equity in tourism companies, it was decided to use information from those businesses that report through the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). GRI reporting is voluntary and companies chose those indicators that are relevant or material to them. The proportion of females in employment, as well as females in management positions were used as key indicators. The database developed for the purpose of the Dashboard contains 77 reports for 2013, 182 for 2014 and 231 for 2015. At this point only 8 reports have been filed for 2016 and results are therefore not shown yet. Not all reports contain information on all indicators.

Data are updated as new reports are uploaded into the portal. The female employment proportions reported by companies were weighted by the number of employees. As a result, in 2015, the proportion of female employment is reflective of a Travel and Tourism workforce of 6,629,971 employees. The proportion of female managers was not weighted and represents an arithmetic mean of all those companies that reported this indicator.

Key facts

  • The results for 2013, 2014 and 2015 show that the share of female employees across all three travel-related GRI categories (tourism/leisure, air, and rail) is steady, changing from 34.5% to 34.6%, and then decreasing slightly to 33.3% in 2015. The early results for 2016 indicate a share of 38.0%.
  • The highest proportion of female employment is in the Tourism and Leisure sub-sector, although it has decreased from a high in 2014 (49.7%) to a lower proportion in 2015 (42.1%). More data over time will likely reduce such fluctuations.
  • Railroad has the lowest proportion of female workers (19.6% in 2015), but a slightly higher proportion of women in management roles (21.3%).
  • Air travel related companies have a female workforce with a share of 40.3% in 2015, and female managers make up 24.2% of management.
  • Additional data were generated on youth employment, although sample sizes are smaller (e.g. 42 reports in 2015 and 51 reports in 2014). The average share of employees under 30 years of age dropped from 25.5% to 17.9%. Again, more data would improve the reliability of the result.
  • In 2015, 32 companies reported on the share of part-time employees in their company. On average this was 10.4%.