Women In Tourism


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Tourism has been recognised as a pillar of economic growth, as well as a social unifier. Within the industry, women make up nearly 70 percent of the workforce; however, there is a marked under-representation of women in senior positions.

Women hold less than 40 percent of all managerial positions, less than 20 percent of general management roles and between five and eight percent of board positions. According to a South African UN representative, women in Ghana contribute almost 56 percent to the GDP, while in South Africa is at about 30 percent. It is no longer negotiable that the economic empowerment of women to 50/50 representation beyond 2030 should be considered a priority.

As a result of the size and relevance of the sector within the global economy, there is a wide range of stakeholders with a strong commercial interest in enabling its continued growth and development. This includes enhancing the talent pipeline in order to unlock the potential of women in the workplace. These stakeholders encompass private and public sector players, education and training providers, as well as the communities in which the sector is active.

In a 2015 report, the WTTC highlighted the consequences of talent imbalances and shortages in global tourism, focusing on serious business and profitability consequences. Of the talent challenges faced by hospitality, perhaps the major issue is that of a failure to utilise talented women to the best effect within the industry, particularly at senior levels.

Opportunities For Women Development And Funding Options Available Include:

  1. The Executive Development Programme for Women was launched in March 2016 by the NDT, working with the BEE Charter Council. It is targeting 20 women from the industry and will go through a selection process in partnership with the selected Higher Education Institution.
  2. The newly established Enterprise Development Programme by the department will focus on more than 50 percent of its efforts on women development through the Incubator process, as well as formal business development studies.
  3. Women of Value South Africa (WOVSA) is a non-profit organisation formed in 2011 whose mission is to impact on the lives of women and youth to be part of the mainstream socio and economic development in SA. Their role is to mobilise, advocate, lobby, facilitate, monitor and evaluate, as well as do research and develop programmes that respond to the mission of the organisation. WOVSA partners with government, private sector and other social partners in programmes that impact lives of women and youth in a sustainable manner

Compiled by: Melissa Jane Cook. Source: Natasha Rockman.