In celebration of International Women’s Day this 8 March, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) released a new set of guidelines that will help both governments and businesses to better address the needs of women in the tourism sector.

The new guidelines issued by UNWTO were developed with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development (BMZ), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and UN Women. It aims to ensure an inclusive and resilient recovery from the impacts of the pandemic. They recognise that, given the disproportionate loss of employment suffered by women, as well as the high proportion of women workers in tourism and their concentration in lower skilled and lower paid jobs, plans for the restart and recovery of the sector must address their specific needs … .

Tourism has proven to be a true champion of gender equality and these new guidelines will help both governments and businesses to harness the power of the sector as a driver of women’s empowerment as the world opens up again.

Tourism as a driver of equality
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili says: “Tourism’s reboot must include everyone and everyone must enjoy the benefits. Tourism has proven to be a true champion of gender equality and these new guidelines will help both governments and businesses to harness the power of the sector as a driver of women’s empowerment as the world opens up again.”
The guidelines for the public sector provide specific tools to support national, regional, local and other tourism institutions, focusing on policies, programmes and thematic issues in the tourism sector. Meanwhile, the business strategy aims to support tourism businesses of all types and sizes to achieve effective and consistent strategies and programmes for gender equality throughout their operations.

Commitment to women
The recently published gender mainstreaming guidelines continue UNWTO’s work on women’s empowerment and are in line with a growing trend within tourism to address gender inequalities. The guidelines sit alongside a growing number of similar initiatives, such as the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEP) or the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Reporting scheme.

In addition, these guidelines provide concrete recommendations for governments working to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (in particular Goal 5: Gender equality and women’s empowerment) and the objectives of international treaties on women’s rights, such as ILO Conventions 100, 111, 156, 183 and 190 or the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
Women’s empowerment
Tourism has a key role to play in achieving the core objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular the commitments to gender equality and women’s empowerment in Sustainable Development Goal 5.

As a United Nations agency specializing in the field of tourism, UNWTO is committed to enhancing the positive impact of tourism development on women’s lives and, in doing so, contributing to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 5: “achieve gender equality and empower all”.

Since 2007, UNWTO has been working, through its Department of Ethics, Culture and Social Responsibility, in partnership with UN Women and a variety of external partners around the world, to bring gender issues to the forefront of the tourism sector, promoting gender equality and women’s rights, and to encourage Member States to mainstream gender issues in their respective tourism policies.