Empowering women in the tourism sector


On her first visit to Spain as Executive Director of UN Women, Michelle Bachelet visited the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) headquarters in Madrid to strengthen collaboration between the two UN bodies in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in the tourism sector.

Meeting with UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai, Ms. Bachelet underlined the value of tourism as an economic sector that provides work, prosperity, and well-being for millions of women, particularly in developing regions. UN Women would continue to promote the importance of tourism for the third UN Millennium Development Goal, Gender Equality, and Women’s Empowerment, she said, “focusing on rural women and the youngest generations.”

“Tourism presents immense opportunities for women’s employment and income-generation, setting the foundations for poverty reduction and local economic development,” said Mr. Rifai, “For these opportunities to be realized, tourism activities must respect the principle of gender equality, as set out in the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism.”

UN Women (formerly UNIFEM), works with public institutions and private companies around the world, including the tourism sector, in promoting the Women Empowerment Principles, offering guidance for businesses on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace, and community.

UNWTO and UN Women, work closely to bring gender issues to the forefront of tourism and highlight the opportunities the sector offers to advance the issue of gender globally. Earlier this year, the two UN agencies released the first “Global Report on Women in Tourism” in which tourism is identified as a sector providing important economic empowerment and leadership opportunities for women. It nevertheless alerts to the need to work more to attain equality, as women are often “concentrated in low-skill, low-paid, and precarious jobs” and typically earn “10% to 15% less than their male counterparts.”


Tourism a vehicle for gender equality and women’s empowerment, UN reports: http://www.unwto.org/media/news/en/press_det.php?id=7562

Preliminary findings of the Global Report on Women in Tourism 2010: http://www2.unwto.org/sites/all/files/pdf/folleto_global_report_on_women_in_tourism-corregido.pdf

Global Code of Ethics for Tourism: http://ethics.unwto.org/en/content/global-code-ethics-tourism

UN Women/UN Global Compact Women Empowerment Principles: http://www.unglobalcompact.org/docs/issues_doc/human_rights/Resources/WEP_EMB_Booklet.pdf