Gender pay gap in eco-tourism

- NIRMALA ADHIKARI, Kathmandu

Sep 20, 2014-

Even though a significant number of women are engaged in eco-tourism sector in the scenic Annapurna Region of Nepal, most of them are found to be earning less compared to their male counterparts.

According to a study titled ‘Women’s Participation in Eco-tourism in the Annapurna (Mustang) Region of Nepal’, which was made public on Thursday by UN Women Nepal, the entrepreneurs making Rs 5,000 a month, the minimun average income, are entirely female, whereas two-third of the highest income (Rs 50,000 a month) earners are male.

The study conducted in Kaski, Parbat, Myagdi and Mustang districts of western Nepal showed that most of the women operated tea shops and lodges along the major trekking routes within these areas. Eco-tourism, which is the only source of income for 78.5 percent of the respondents who took part in the study, has been recognised as the exclusive domain of men, while women are engaged in multiple small tasks resulting in more work load compared to men. The study revealed that women involved in promoting “green growth” were found to be in informal and local level jobs with less pay compared to men who were involved in large scale enterprises where they could earn more.

Addressing the National Validation Workshop on the study organised in the capital on Thursday, Suresh Man Shrestha, Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, acknowledged the notable participation of women in the sector. “In order to increase women’s entrepreneurship in large scale enterprises, the government will prioritise women’s empowerment,” he said. “We are committed to formulate gender responsive plans and policies.” The roles of women contributing to eco-tourism in Nepal are primarily concerned with home-stay facilities where women earn less compared to men who are mainly engaged in decision-level and policy making positions, according to findings of the study.

“The full integration of women in the economic sector of Nepal should be recognised,” said Ziad Sheikh, Representative, UN Women, adding that recognising women empowerment as a critical issue in this sector was a must. The report has recommended that equal participation of both men and women should be ensured in all levels of hierarchy in the sector of eco-tourism in order to end the gender discrimination on the basis of wage rate.

Similarly, UN Women Nepal has urged the government to enhance tourism with special focus to gender responsive eco-tourism which would further help to value the contribution of women in tourism sector and provide them with opportunities in large scale enterprises in the national and international level.

 

Published: 21-09-2014 09:01

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