Female empowerment, protagonist of the reactivation of tourism

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As the pandemic has made clear the extent to which women and girls around the world are disproportionately affected by the crisis, UNWTO partnered with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and UN Women to put gender equality at the center of recovery plans. The Center Stage project was piloted in four countries: Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Jordan and Mexico, with the participation of governments and companies, as well as NGOs and community associations.  

As part of the initiative, UNWTO conducted a survey on the impact of COVID-19 on tourism employment. The research found that, between March 2020 and September 2021, women in tourism were:

  • 3% more likely to lose their job, 8% more likely to have a pay cut, and 8% more likely to have reduced work hours in Costa Rica.
  • 5% more likely to lose their job, 2% more likely to have reduced work hours, and 12% more likely to take a pay cut in the Dominican Republic.
  • 4% more likely to lose their job, 8% less likely to get a raise, and 20% more likely to pay someone to care for their dependents in Jordan.
  • 3% more likely to lose their job, 8% more likely to take a pay cut, and 3% more likely to take time off to care for dependents in Mexico.

UNWTO’s pioneering ‘Center Stage’ project was designed to address this, working with 3 governments, 38 companies and 13 civil society organizations to implement year-long gender action plans.

The project has produced the following results:

  • 702 companies/entrepreneurs received training in gender equality
  • 712 people received face-to-face training
  • 526 women received a promotion
  • 100% of participating businesses strengthened the prevention of sexual harassment
  • 100% of participating companies committed to ‘equal pay for work of equal value’
  • 1-hour online course ‘Gender equality in tourism training’ at atingi.org
  • Guidelines for gender mainstreaming for the public sector
  • Gender Inclusive Strategy for tourism companies
  • A global awareness campaign on gender equality in tourism.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “As we rethink the future of tourism, it must be one in which women and men are equally empowered to seize the opportunities brought by the restart of the sector. The four pilot countries have led the way in placing gender equality at the heart of their tourism recovery plans and UNWTO is committed to taking this work further and more widely.”