Gender Bias in the Hospitality Sector: Female and Male Jobs


  • susana Silva Institute Polytechnic of Porto, School of Hospitality and Tourismo, CEOS.PP, CITUR
  • Maria João Couto ESHT, Polytechnic of Porto



The hospitality sector is still very traditional and male-dominated in terms of values, it is segregating and discriminatory according to gender, not only horizontally but also vertically, the wage differences between men and women are critical, and many of the jobs are stigmatized. Indeed, despite women representing most of the workforce in hospitality, such numerical dominance is not reflected in the leadership positions they occupy. Traditionally, men and women occupy different roles in the hospitality industry: women are more often assigned functions that are in line with their social roles and that represents an extension of their domestic tasks so that it is easier to find women in-room service or cleaning. Men, on the other hand, are more easily assigned physically demanding tasks, administrative and management functions, which require more skills and are therefore better paid.

This study aims to examine the female and male social representation associated with the performance of certain roles in the hospitality sector, as perceived by tourism and hospitality students, to explore gender representations associated with different hierarchical positions and departments, and to understand some of the (in)equalities that continue to persist between men and women in hospitality.

A quantitative cross-sectional study was performed to achieve the study goals. Our sample consists of 200 higher education students in tourism and hospitality. Based on Bem Sex Role Inventory short-form traits questionnaire, we applied an online questionnaire with the purpose of knowing the students’ gender representations of different professional activities in the hospitality industry.

Within our results, we expect to describe the gender bias of the professional functions in the hospitality sector. On the other hand, we expect to understand possible gender differences between operational and leadership positions, and from different departments.

The findings of this study will help the hotels to analyse their gender practices and policies. By giving voice to the stereotypes that foster gender inequalities in the hospitality sector, hotels can become aware of their gendered practices and policies that impact the recruitment process and the various roles and functions that are assigned to men and women.