• An HTSI investigation studies the contributions of women's associations to female empowerment

Tuesday, 18 May, 2021
IQS School of Management


“Women managers in tourism: Associations for building a sustainable world” is the title of an article by HTSI researchers and professors Daniela Freund and Gilda Hernández. The article, published in the April edition of Tourism Management Perspectives, focused on the contributions of women’s associations to female empowerment in the tourism sector.

Although women make up a large part of the tourism workforce, they mostly hold low-level, precarious jobs. In management positions and on boards of directors, they are seriously underrepresented.

Through interviews with female leaders from management associations in Catalonia, this study identified the roles and goals of these associations, the barriers women have faced in their search for high-level corporate positions, and future challenges to female leadership.

The resulting observations support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 5 by creating awareness about gender barriers, improving social awareness of gender equality in decision-making bodies, and expanding professional networks and access to resources. According to the researchers, “our findings show that these associations empower women using different strategies. They serve as active agents of change that help to transform both their members and society as a whole.”

Equal rights are not yet a reality?

The article concludes that women still have a long way to go to achieve gender equality in executive positions, and that they still have plenty of barriers to overcome. Although many companies are working towards gender equality, their management boards are still not balanced. Achieving equal rights continues to be a big challenge for many organizations.

Nevertheless, solidarity, cooperation and commitment among equals do facilitate this process. Existing women’s associations seem to be capable of impacting the future of gender equality. They play a key role by making the existing problems visible, reflecting on them and seeking solutions. Women’s associations serve as essential entities that encourage women to participate actively while also developing initiatives to make initiatives by institutions and companies more visible.

The researchers suggest that the associations present in Catalonia join forces to support one another more than they currently do. The information collected in the interviews makes it clear that when women work together, they achieve outstanding results.

After initial research on the subject in final bachelor’s projects by Joanna and Júlia Caellas, Roser Ruiz and Sandra Fernández, the researchers from the School of Tourism decided to delve deeper into this subject with a scientific paper.