Female and Thriving

The Business Case for Women’s Empowerment and Retention in the Hospitality and Tourism Sector in Nepal

Plan International commissioned hospitality and tourism sector business case research in Nepal to develop the business case for supporting women’s economic empowerment in the sector. 

Female and thriving report cover image

The Asia-Pacific Hospitality and Tourism (H&T) sector is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. 

While at the surface level, the female-majority composition of the workforce suggests huge strides have been made to achieve gender parity in the hospitality and tourism sector, deeply entrenched barriers continue to impede women from accessing and thriving in the workplace.

These manifest themselves in many ways, such as massive underrepresentation in senior and leadership positions, wage gaps, gender segregation, harassment, and discrimination.

In Nepal, H&T directly supported 3.2% of total employment in the country and a total contribution (including indirect employment) of 6.6% of total employment. However, in the 3.2% employed who were employed in 2018, only 15% were women. Among the women employed in the sector, over half were in housekeeping, 30% are in front desk and food and beverage, and only 10% were in managerial and executive-level positions. Similarly, in the trekking sector, only 5% to 10% are female employees with a few of them as guides or trekking assistants. Women are mostly involved in office work for the trekking companies, engaging customers and facilitating bookings and payments.

In spite of a growing body of literature around the business case for women’s empowerment in the sector, the relevance of these studies to Girls’ Advocacy Alliance (GAA) is limited because there is little evidence contextualised to Nepal’s hospitality and tourism sector.

This research was carried out from 23 September 2019 to 22 December 2019 in the cities of Pokhara and Kathmandu.

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Skills and work, Livelihoods