A Gender Audit of the Leadership and Governance Boards of Hospitality Membership Organisations in New Zealand

Rahman, Rehnuma
Mooney, Shelagh
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Master of International Hospitality Management
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Auckland University of Technology

The hospitality industry around the world is growing and changing faster than ever; more than half of its workforce are women. But women have historically held poorer quality positions in the industry, so confront considerable career barriers. In past years many changes have come to the hospitality industry, but the position of women has not changed much. Until now, women have been working mostly in traditional positions such as in housekeeping, or as waiters or front office staff. Executive level positions in the hospitality industry are commonly held by men. Even a women candidate with the required qualifications and skills for an executive position encounters visible and invisible barriers to reaching a senior position. To ensure women’s professional growth in the sector, women may need external support, such as that provided by professional membership associations. The governing bodies of professional associations normally work voluntarily and are a source of external support for organisations and individuals. They benefit their members by providing support and guidance for them to succeed in their business or career. Additionally, they may help women succeed in their careers and enable potential candidates to reach more senior positions. The aim of this study was to explore the women-men ratio of the governing bodies in the hospitality industry. This study also aimed to identify what positions women hold on the governance boards of these associations. The study followed a qualitative research method with an interpretivist approach. Data were sourced from the official websites of the selected associations and web-based news articles. Netnography was used as a tool for data collection. All the data used in this study were secondary data, and publicly available on websites. Three case studies were the sources of the data. Case study 1 included five hospitality professional associations of New Zealand: Hospitality New Zealand, the Bed and Breakfast Association New Zealand, the New Zealand Cruise Association, the Motel Association of New Zealand, and the Restaurant Association of New Zealand. Case study 2 explored the American Hotel & Lodging Association of the United States of America (USA), and Case study 3 explored the Hospitality Professionals Association of the United Kingdom (UK). Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. The findings showed that although women were holding some important job positions such as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), President, and Chairperson in professional associations, gender inequality was prominent on the boards.

Hospitality , Gender inequality , Leadership , Governance board
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