How can tourism sector stimulate employment of women in rural areas?

Tourism activity has different socio-economic impacts on the host economy and community. One of them and also very important one is employment impact. Visitor expenditures can stimulate jobs not only directly (e.g. hotels, restaurants and airlines) but also indirectly through multiplier effect. In case of rural areas, tourism promotes job opportunities when losses in other sectors occur (e.g. agriculture) (UNWTO, 2004).

Special attention is needed for increasing the employment of women in the tourism industry. It was also indicated in Agenda 21 that the role of women in sustainable development needs to be strengthened. Torkelsson and Tassew (2008) argue that the asset gap between women and men is particularly strong in rural areas, where women receive less education than men, fewer extension services and less access to income and land.

Studies of International Labour Organization (2001) also show that women occupy the lower levels of the occupational structure in the tourism labour market, with few career development opportunities and low levels of remuneration (some estimates suggest that wages for women are up to 20 per cent lower than those for men). They also tend to be the first affected when labour reduction occurs as a result of recession or adjustment to new technology. It should also be noted that women represent the majority of workers in subcontracted, temporary, casual or part-time employment. The study made by ILO in 2010 showed that in EU and developed economies majority of women work in services where jobs are characterized by low pay, long hours and oftentimes informal working arrangements. And even within these sectors where women dominate, it would rarely be women who would hold the upper level, managerial jobs.

Monk et al. (1999) present some barriers when finding employment in rural areas, such as lack of qualifications or skills, possession of inappropriate skills or being over-qualified. There is an option to educate and train people but many unemployed or those with low incomes could not afford to travel in order to attend training courses.

Reading all these articles I noticed that everyone writes about problems women face regarding employment, but nobody suggests solutions. So my research question is how can tourism sector stimulate employment of women in rural areas. I will try to find concrete solutions for this problem in a chosen destination.


–          UNWTO. (2004). Rural Tourism in Europe: Experiences, Development and Perspectives

–          Torkelsson and Tassew. (2008). Quantifying women’s and men’s rural resource portfolios – empirical evidence from Western Shoa in Ethiopia (The European Journal of Development Research)

–          ILO. (2001). Human resources development, employment and globalization in the hotel, catering and tourism sector

–          ILO. (2010). Women in labour markets: measuring progress and identifying challenges

–          Sarah Monk, Jessica Dunn, Maureen Fitzgerald and Ian Hodge. (1999). Finding work in rural areas: barriers and bridges

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