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Tourism is the 3rd largest socio-economic sector in the EU. In 2011, the EU-28 women’s participation in the overall tourism workforce stood at 56% & 46% in the wider EU economy. Women in Travel & Tourism International are clear, “at the most senior levels women are disproportionately underrepresented.”

While they make up 25.5% of executive committee members, most work in HR rather than management roles. WiHTL highlight how the tourism sector is “failing to promote women to the highest levels of decision-making despite having a larger pool of female talent from which to draw”. In hospitality, women are heavily concentrated in low-paid jobs & only 1 in 22 CEOs is a woman.

This is underpinned by the key challenge of our lifetime- Climate Change.

It is crucial that we acknowledge and address the consensus among tourism stakeholders regarding the future resilience of the industry. In order to effectively combat the effects of climate change, we must take collective action and make decisive efforts towards reducing our carbon footprint within the tourism sector.

WE LEAD’s overall objective is to improve the quality & relevance of women leadership in tourism education so that women are better equipped to use their skills to embrace leadership roles & empower them to face challenges, especially transition towards climate neutrality. In order to achieve this we will develop and deliver the following learning resources which will be freely accessible:

Tourism Gender & Climate action: Discovery Report
A Compendium of European Best Practices
Educators Guide to Innovative Learning Pathways
Open Educational Resources

WE LEAD represents an important first innovation opportunity to develop expertise in responding to the needs of a specific new target group: women leaders in the tourism, hospitality & leisure sectors. WE LEAD seeks to break new ground in this sector by forming a clear picture of the strengths, weaknesses & levers of change to improve representation & performance at the leadership level in these sectors. Tourism & hospitality (especially post-pandemic), continue to attract attention as integral drivers of economic & social progress. Tourism has a pivotal role to play in achieving the objectives at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular the commitments to gender equality & the empowerment of women of Sustainable Development Goal 5 Achieving Gender Equality & remove the disparity in the numbers of women in the sector at low-skilled & poorly paid vs the numbers who are managers or at senior level.

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