from DION HENRICK in Cape Town
Western Cape Bureau
CAPE TOWN, (CAJ News) – THE empowerment of women is at the forefront of tourism development globally, stakeholders have reaffirmed on International Women’s Day.
The World Tourism Organisation (WTO) and United Nations Women gave the assurance.
“Now it is time for tourism to give back,” said Zurab Pololikashvili, WTO Secretary-General.
“With the ‘Centre Stage’ model, we can help the sector work for women and we will not stop until the girls of tomorrow have the same opportunities as the men of today,” Pololikashvili said.
The pioneering ‘Centre Stage’ project was launched in 2021 to address imbalances and expand tourism’s place in the development agenda and women’s empowerment.
In bringing together the public sector with tourism businesses and civil society organizations, the project directly trained 1 800 people, saw 2 826 women get a promotion, surveyed 27 000 people and reached over 20 million in a global awareness raising campaign.
WTO research has previously shown the enormous potential of the tourism sector to empower women of all backgrounds.
Fifty-four (54) percent of the global tourism workforce is female, the gender-wage gap is lower in tourism, and the proportion of women in leadership roles is higher than in other sectors.
However, women are still concentrated in lower-paid, precarious and often informal work.
Furthermore, WTO research has revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic hit women in tourism harder than men.
Women were more likely to lose their job, have their hours or pay reduced and to shoulder more care responsibilities in all of the countries surveyed.
– CAJ News