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Gender equality and Tourism: Beyond Empowerment

Cole, Stroma


Stroma Cole
Senior Lecturer in Human Geography


Drawing on the theme of gender equality in tourism, the book aims to identify the main obstacles to women’s advancement in the tourism industry, and to discover and share successful strategies to overcome them, drawing on case studies from all over the world.

The book is a critical analysis of women in tourism from different stakeholder perspectives, from INGOs, national governments, and managers as well as workers in a variety of fields producing tourism. It explores the continuing power imbalances and injustices women experience and shed some light on how to overcome them.

The artificial divide between paid productive labour and unpaid reproductive labour and the lack of value given to care work is a recurrent theme and significant obstacles to achieving gender equality. The collection points to the slow and small changes that women are making and how women are using the transformations tourism brings to their advantage. The book is a collection of stories of how women, despite prejudice and stereotypes, are gaining agency and autonomy by using tourism to shift gender relations.
The conclusion highlights the commonalities in the women’s stories:
• A need for a new interpretation of empowerment;
• That women help women;
• The barriers women face in pursuing careers in tourism;
• The hopes but also the fears that tourism work can bring;
• How indecent work tourism can be, and that the situation is far worse for some women than others.
The book is about women involved in a slow revolution of change, and a number of factors were identified that could speed up the transformation of gender relations in tourism, including:
• better definitions and the enforcement of gender equality as a human right;
• the need to take account of reproductive labour;
• ensuring women’s voices are heard
• using gendered action plans;
• using gender auditing and impact analysis;
• gender awareness training and
• improved disclosure of best practice.

Stories from: Nicaragua, Cape Verde, Portugal, Turkey, Mexico, Ladakh, South Africa, Nepal, Greece, Austria, Indonesia, Thailand, Tanzania and Ecuador


Cole, S. (2018). Gender equality and Tourism: Beyond Empowerment. CABI

Book Type Authored Book
Publication Date Jul 1, 2018
Publicly Available Date
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
ISBN 9781786394422
Keywords gender, tourism
Public URL
Publisher URL