The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Bayelsa State Governor on Tourism, Dr. Piriye Kiyaramo has again stressed the need to intensify efforts towards optimizing gender mainstreaming through tourism development, adding that the involvement of women is an important component in the tourism development.
Speaking with newsmen in commemoration of this year’s International Women’s Day on Wednesday in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State Capital, Dr. Kiyaramo, decried the wide disparity in the number of women occupying managerial positions in the tourism sector, compared to the high number of men in such cadre in the country.
He pointed out that while women have the same rights to occupy managerial positions like the men in the sector, the reality at the workplace still indicates great disparity in terms of numbers, illustrating different things regarding the role of women in tourism.
He observed that while women have a role in supporting the tourism sector, unfortunately, their roles have been more concentrated in low-skill and low-paid areas due women’s limited access to education, skills in tourism, family background, physical conditions, language, and ability to set criteria.
According to the governor’s aide, though women’s skills are more dominant in the accommodation sector, including homestay services, food and beverage services, making of souvenirs, opening of stalls, hawking trade, cooking, cleaning of public places and working in the hospitality sector, not many occupy senior management positions.
Dr. Kiyaramo who reiterated the need to make community folks to be actively involved in tourism activities, starting from the planning, implementation, supervision, maintenance and utilization processes, also emphasised the need to provide broad opportunities for active participation of women.
“Women as part of the society also have potential to participate in tourism activities.The involvement of women in tourism can reduce gender inequality in development.
“The promotion of equality and women’s empowerment became one of the agendas in the Third Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that was proclaimed by the United Nations in 2000, based on the results of a joint agreement with 189 heads of UN member states, including Indonesia.
“In our development, efforts need to be made to increase the capacity and participation of existing resources to maximize the development efforts. Recent research indicates that women in tourism have less role in organizations but only play roles in regional dances, agriculture, homestays, food and beverage services, and making of souvenirs.
“It turns out that there are differences in the roles of women and men in most tourism jobs.
Even though policies have been made regarding the presence of women in tourism, women still have lower positions than men”, Dr. Kiyaramo regretted.