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Gender Inequality in French Hospitality Industry

Introduction

Challenges of gender inequality in numerous organizations have continued to be manifested in the current century. Nevertheless, constructive development has been recognized where there has been the establishment of clear gender roles and significant gender parity participation in the global workforce. Presently, consideration has been directed towards corporate leadership positions in regards to women’s issues and difficulties in the hospitality industry. Moreover, based on the research by Torrens University Australia (2019), despite major development and advancements in bridging the gender-based inequality in top management’s positions in the hotel sector by women, it must be acknowledged that their ability to break the glass ceiling has proved futile. In other words, major corporate women leadership continues to encounter challenges in an attempt to ascend into senior management roles. Furthermore, ambitious women who have managed to become top managers in the hospitality sector still face a manifold of such issues as stereotypes and threats, as illustrated by the research conducted by Hoyt and Murphy (2016). As a result, it can be warranted to argue that the difficulties and problems women encounter in a leadership position in hotel industry prove enough evidence of the fact that gender inequality still exists in corporate management of tourism sector.

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Despite the fact that the tourism industry provides the best employment services to most women, its general impression with regards to male dominance indicates a negative global outlook, even with the changing corporate leadership dynamics. As such, to narrow the gap created by male domination, women are progressively establishing leadership positions through trainings and mentorships. However, emphasis on certain nations in the research studies in relation to women leadership is scant, precisely in France’s hospitality sector. Moreover, many federal governments and urgencies believe that France is amongst the top countries that have made significant advancement in bridging gender inequality. Khan (2019) posits that France has no substantial gender-related issue, despite the presence of occurrences that show that the nation has not entirely achieved gender equivalence.

Notably, the attainment of gender equality through the bridging of gender gap on several issues in hospitality sector in France has been helped by the elementary policy enacted in 2010. In France, equal employment prospects are provided for women and men in most corporations based on the gender rule (Milner, Demilly, and Pochic, 2019). For instance, more than 58% of all the employees in most hotels are women (Milner et al., 2019). However, according to current statistics, there are few women in the uppermost career positions in the hotel sector as compared to their male counterparts. In the U.S., despite women occupying approximately 48% of the general workforce, the figure accounts for only 13% for those in senior management positions as described in the Fortune 500 enterprises in 2020 (Ackrill, Caven and Alaktif, 2017). As such, women are quite helpless to compete with their male compatriots due to the existence of the direct and indirect barriers such as motherhood, family involvements, among others.

The problem is compounded when the corporate leadership and managerial aspect of the hotel industry necessitate long working hours and extraordinary level of movements. Consequently, women, deficient of the knowledge and awareness that is vital for senior positions are regularly deprived of career prospects. Nevertheless, the corporate setting of the hotel business cares for male’s progression in their hospitality certified occupations. Moreover, the glass ceiling allegory, stereotypes, and gender discrimination are the impenetrable barriers that present issues and challenges for the career development of women for top management hierarchy in hospitality sector (Koseoglu, King and Rahimi, 2020). In this regard, there is an evidence of persistent glass ceiling in western countries where a pattern of gender issues in corporate leadership exists even with most women occupying the lower echelons of management.

In France, previous research that focuses on women’s career management and corporate leadership in hospitality industry is rare. Despite sporadic studies on the issue, the hospitality industry has made remarkable development in the country over the past couple of decades. However, hospitality sector is faced with a scarcity of skilled corporate leaders and operational managers (Koseoglu et al., 2020). Case in point, one sure way to entice and retain women hotel managers is through facilitating the progression of their careers (Remington and Kitterlin-Lynch, 2018). The current study aims to scrutinize the French hotel and tourism sector and the concerns and challenges women encounter in management roles and compare it to the trends in the other nations’ hospitality sector.

Problem Statement

Research works regarding problems and barriers encountered by women in management roles in the tourism and hotel sector in France are insufficient. Globally, the challenges of women narrowing the gender gap and ascending to the “glass elevator’ through leadership attainment is a widely known phenomenon. Hotels and tourism industry provide the most significant employment opportunities, thus delivering an excellent case context to examining the gender inequality and its associated challenges. Importantly, France is one of the listed nations globally with policies and guidelines dedicated to achieving gender parity. Conversely, current researchers have tagged the country’s state of gender issues as a gender paradox. The argument has been the country has been motivating, captivating, and frustrating in its determination to attain gender balance. The challenge is fundamentally new, and few research studies have been documented to identify how it correlates to hospitality industry. Therefore, there is a presence of knowledge gap in research that requires urgent bridging through critical empirical study and comparative analysis that elucidates the present state of gender parity in top managements of hotels in France. Despite the existence of women leaders in the majority of big corporate companies, the inquiries on the problems and concerns faced by women remain unresolved.

Research Questions and Objectives

The objective of this current research encompasses the exploration of barriers and concerns women encounter in the management of French hotels. Specifically, the aim of the paper involves the determination of the current rates of women in management across France’s hospitality industry. Moreover, the challenges of gender inequality in the management of France’s hotels in France are explored. Finally, principle scrutiny of such gender effects as stereotyping, gender discernment and segregation, bias, and the family-work conflicts are performed to determine how they impact the women management of hospitality sector. In this regard, to sufficiently respond to the objectives of this research, the following questions require answers:

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  • What are the present rates of female managers in the hospitality sector in France?
  • How do leadership and management of the hospitality industry mirror the issue of gender inequality in France?
  • How do the concerns related to stereotyping, gender segregation, bias, and family-work conflict impact women managers in the France’s hotel sector?

Research Hypothesis

  • H1: The corporate leadership in France’s hospitality industry is dominated by men.
  • H2: There still exists gender inequality in corporate leadership in France’s hotel industry.
  • H3: Women leaders in France’s hospitality industry face such challenges as stereotyping, discrimination, prejudice, and family demands.

Theoretical Background and Literature Review

Several research studies on women management and hotel industry have been explored in relation to challenges and issues encountered by women across the globe. Nevertheless, it is imperative to understand that several limitations have been made in connection to the generalizations, especially concerning the fact that women encounter numerous barriers in their attempt to attain top management positions. Therefore, the accessible researches on the issues of concern in this literature should be able to deliver sufficient evidence to establish a strong foundation for the current study, thus providing the occurrences of knowledge gaps that need further empirical exploration.

To understand the concept of gender inequality, it is imperative to comprehend the conceptualization of the intersectionality theory. The theory suggests that an individual may possess numerous characteristics or such features as gender, age, class, work, and ethnicity which can subsequently influence their experiences in day-to-day activities (Mooney, 2020). For instance, the impact of ethnic opportunities or experiences may be dominant in certain countries where there is prevalent class segregation or ethnic disparity which may be strengthened by social and cultural norms. As such, a woman may be deprived of a workplace for being a female and compounded for being from the inferior social class, consequently suffering discrimination due to reduced social opportunities (Mooney, 2020). Initially, such kind of segregation dates back to the discrimination suffered by the African American women who were also coming from the lower economic societies. According to Mena and Bolte (2019), the intersectionality theory was predominant in the second upsurge of feminism, which comprised of the standpoint theory, hence the division based on both class and race because of diverse gendered power associations.

Consequently, these standpoint division manifests in the hospitality industry in France. According to Pritchard (2018), researchers in the hospitality sector have tried to establish a clear solution to the women who have lost the gender bias fight through addressing the marginalized discourse but to no avail. For this reason, Pritchard (2018), reflecting on the recent remarks by Marilyn Loden on the common topic about ‘glass ceiling,’ which is currently about 40 years since its first development, notes that there is the existence of sexism in most industries. In this regard, the researcher highlighted the need for more study works to emphasize the interconnection of several gender-based inequalities, issues, challenges, and oppressions within the hospitality industry.

From the theory, gender barriers facing women in the hotel sector, especially those pursuing senior management positions, are a common phenomenon in the recent literature. According to a study piloted by Rincón, González, and Barrero (2017), there is an expose of the evident growth of the women in senior management position, thus establishes obvious barriers that women face in the hospitality sector. In the literature, the most prevalent barriers or challenges to women’s development as top managers in the hotel industry include stereotyping of women, which compounds their efforts to attain their ambitions of being accomplished top managers in the industry. According to Rincón, González, and Barrero (2017), the percentage of women leaders in the whole world is less than 30% as a representation in Europe. Despite the researcher’s figures not entirely on hospitability and tourism sector, the study at least indicates the presence of low women representation, thus gender-based exclusion in the hotel management positions. This highlights the key issues faced by women across the globe, hence an urgent need to address the vice.

Career progression through the climbing of the management ladder in the hotel industry is a consequence of constructing successful professions and work ethics over a certain period of time. An impression of management development by women in the industry has been documented by the research study conducted by Kumara (2018), who sees career growth as a lifetime course in which an individual chooses and makes career-based judgments related to their professions. According to Kumara (2018), the career development process is flawed by such barriers and issues as family responsibilities, irregular working hours, employment practices, gender segregations and stereotypes, social and cultural factors, glass ceiling, and visibility factors. Moreover, the issues of gender discrimination and inadequate female role models in the society have emerged as one of the leading inhibitors to women’s career growth.

As a result, the global picture of hotel sector portrays a male dominance where employment patterns for top managerial positions favor men employees as compared to their female counterparts. Furthermore, the research by Kumara (2018, p. 331) has tagged the issues of male domination in the hotel sector as the “old boy’s network,” which corresponds to the concept of men hiring fellow men in certain superior managerial positions. In this regard, women’s privileges are narrowed, thus instituting a challenge or barrier to break the glass ceiling.

Moreover, analysis of career can make transparent and discrete career mobility in a person and elucidate who is better suited to a given occupation. In many circumstances, alterations in the status of an individual within a firm or profession in the form of career upgrade or downgrade are an essential concept of working lifespan (Zheng, Ai and Liu, 2017). Appreciating one’s career progression pathway and the contributing factors are important for planning individual career goals. For instance, Kortt, Sinnewe, and Pervan (2018), Santero-Sanchez et al. (2015), and Goldin et al. (2017) have conducted research studies in Australia, Europe, and America, respectively. However, hotel management with regards to women career development in France has been scant. Therefore, the study aims to evaluate the apparent gender and issues in career growth, through target sampling of managers in the greater France hospitality sector.

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In other economic blocks, the issue of gender in the management of hotel industry has been studied. In a research conducted by Remington and Kitterlin-Lynch (2018), many of the women respondents noted that they faced lowered career prospects as compared to men in the hotel industry because of such barriers as cultural norms which manifest in negative perceptions of female’s capacities and imbalance on men dominance patriarchy in the society. For instance, according to the study, the groups of respondents from America highlighted that there is evidence of balance between men and women’s career opportunities in the sector (Remington and Kitterlin-Lynch, 2018). However, some women noted the presence of prevalence of machismo in the workstation as impacting women’s prospects (Remington and Kitterlin-Lynch, 2018). In the same research study, in North Asia, gender disparity was noted in the increasing age of employees with regards to women’s career opportunities (Pritchard, 2018). In this case, the inequality was associated with the expectations of women’s involvement in family being dominant in certain age groups and the result of earlier retirement age as compared to other developed economies.

Moreover, the barrier to achievement of career progression was related to the presence of vulnerable groups, referring to the increased number of ethnicity or marginalization of certain women in the area. According to Pritchard (2018), dual challenges were also prevalent in the economic block of Southeast Asia, where respondents highlighted reduced employments for being a female coupled with living in remote areas with few socio-economic opportunities.

Even though the presence of gender inequality was not stretched in these economies, it concurs with the intersectionality theory’s effect of the level of segregation of women. As indicated by Crenshaw and their close relation to hospitality employment department, women are the majority affected by this social restraint (Collins, 2015; Alarcón and Cole, 2019). Despite the challenges of cross-examining the associations between gender and other such social constraints as ethnicity, classism, and urban or remote living, the current research study proposes the prospects of intersectionality, hence a greater influence on scholarly discussion concerning the issues of hotel sector employability. Furthermore, certain cultures are also known to play a key role in instituting gender discrimination in labor markets, consequently influencing an individual career growth.

The issues of stereotyping women’s capacity and the prospective roles in a family are manifested in the theory of women-family conflict (WFC). The theory suggests that women experience conflict between their involvements with family roles, which nugget their capacity to work effectively in the office environment (Bennett et al., 2017). Furthermore, women leaders in the hotel industry can choose to enforce personal barriers to their career growth to top management by creating a boundary of improving their working hours and employment duties. Thus, they would prefer to transfer office work due to family involvements, where the office work years coincide with the childbearing years in women. According to Bennett et al. (2017), issues of transferring office-related tasks are associated with women’s ability to relocate from certain interior regions to improve their career prospects with the increased number of family commitments.

For instance, in Australia and the U.S., it can be challenging to gain access to paid childcare in remote areas, thus forcing the majority of women to relocate to places near their office locations, an issue that has since been left unaddressed. However, in certain economies such as Latin America, the presence of home help or baby sitters and early retirement ages in women may facilitate women’s access to paid employments of childcare from their relatives who are aged upon retirements (Hutchings et al., 2020). As a consequence, the present study suggests that both cultural and organizational factors play a role in the stereotyping of women’s capacity to be fully involved in the demands of the leadership roles at the management of the hotel industry because the roles indicated in WFC require thorough critique with reference to certain economic blocks or culture, in this case, France.

Notably, there has been an escalation in the total number of women managers since the introduction of soft management in 1990. In the U.S., the number of women as hotel managers has been increasing gradually (Ackrill, Caven and Alaktif, 2017). For instance, a survey done by Hutchings et al. (2020) showed that 55% of the corporate leaders from the Americas were females, higher than 40% indicated by North-East Asia and Russia. At the same time, Hutchings et al. (2020) established that despite the institution of anti-discrimination regulation in many countries coupled with increased global social changes, gender discernment remains to manifest in salary payments and workplace-related gender isolation. According to Hutchings et al. (2020), horizontal discrimination ascends where women have not designated jobs or are selected for specific jobs, which creates work-related separations and female-led occupations that tend to be lower paid with rare chances for development. In this regard, sex-related differences in the promotion and on-job training for senior managerial positions exist.

In the U.S., the gender pay gap among hotel sales personnel has significantly constricted, though it is still considerably wide. Rinaldi and Salerno (2019) state that men in hotel sales category earned more than women with a 45% earnings differential in the Middle East and North Africa. In a survey done by Ayodeji and Akinbode (2017), 75% of the respondents, with about 159 females being sales managers. The women highlighted that senior sales managers in the same position as men were paid less than their male counterparts. The gender pay gap also appears to be prevalent in other nations. For instance, Adelekan and Bussin (2018) assert that, in the sales department in South Africa, women significantly narrowed down the gap in pay with men, yet still men earned more than them. He argues that whereas the South Africa male-female salaries gap has been decreasing in contemporary times, the gap is yet to be closed substantially.

In France, the same gender pay gap is common, and women are often paid less than men in the same work classification. For instance, one comparison of wages in France established a constant gender gap in pay statistics, with women earning about 70% of male salaries on average across all jobs (Coudin, Maillard and Tô, 2019). However, as inferred by the findings of Coudin, Maillard, and Tô (2019), men might be getting higher wages than women in similar work because they are offered higher starting wages. As such, women starting a career job with a lower starting salary would result in a future difficulty to climb the wage ladder, thus challenges to catch up with the men’s wages later in their profession.

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Consequently, this could elucidate one of the potential effects of gender pay gap. Furthermore, women applicant’s awareness of gender consequences on the earning prospects could sway their decision when making occupation selections. For instance, if a woman job applicant recognizes that her earning would be less than her male counterpart in a given field of study; she may end up not pursuing such a career. Therefore, it is imperative to cross-examine the awareness of gender impacts on career progression. Nonetheless, few research studies have been done to comprehend the characteristics of career development as gender equality of women in hotel sector in France. Therefore, this paper will examine the gender inequality, issues, and challenges of women in hotel industry in France.

Research Methods

A surveying instrument was carried out through the Qualtrics XM platform, an online survey tool (see Appendix B), using a well-structured questionnaire to obtain current information about gender disparity, issues, and challenges from hotel workers in France. A sample of (n=151) current workers from different job positions was collected based on the respondents obtained between April 28th and May 7th, 2021 upon filling the consent form (see Appendix A). The data were collected from hotel workers at top hotels in France. The managers were asked to consent to the questionnaire through the online survey Qualtrics XM comprised of three main parts a) the demographic profile, which contained questions on demographic features of hotel workers, including age, gender, educational background, career involvement and gender-based experience, current income in euros, and present job position. b) The second part contained questions with regards to family issues or challenges and how they are related to gender inequality in workplace involvements. In this part, the questions pertained, marriage profile, if a spouse is working, how many children the family has, mode of child care when at work, any spouse-related support towards career goals, and hours spent taking care of the child. c) The last part contained a questionnaire on the issues to do with work-related promotion, salary appraisals, career development, and family-work difficulties experienced. Based on the returned questionnaires, 1 of them was considered invalid or incomplete and was excluded from the analysis. In total, there were 13 non-consented forms where the respondent refused to participate in the online questionnaire. The remaining 137 contained consented questionnaires with complete questions filled, thus resulting in a return ratio of 90.73%. The data were then analyzed using SPSS version 16 with a collection of descriptive and evaluative techniques.

Data Analysis

The findings from research in this literature are reported into three parts. First, the outcomes that concern the first objective and provide responses to the first research question are tabulated in Table 1. Because the data from the survey questionnaires are in nominal codes, they were analyzed using Chi-square test. The outcome for the Chi-square tests (see Tables 1-5) demonstrates the existence or absence of gender disparity in relative to the demographic features of the survey respondents. Second, results that discourse the second part of the research objective, which provide responses to the second research questions are presented in Table 6. One and two-sample paired t-tests are used to analyze the data for research question 2, whereas Person’s coefficient of correlation is used to analyze data pertaining to research questions 3 (see Table 3). A comparative analysis was subsequently done linking the current data and those derived from the other nation’s settings.

Demographic characteristics

The sample of 137 complete hotel workers in France discovered the following demographic characteristics (see Table 1-5). Among the respondents to the online survey, 61.31% (84) of them were females, and the remaining 38.69% (53) were male workers. The mean age of both male and female hotel workers was 30-39 years. The distribution and analysis of the survey questionnaire based on the respondents’ educational background indicates that 16.79% have a school diploma, 30.66% have a Bachelor degree, 42.34% have a master’s degree, and 3.65% have a doctorate degree (Ph.D.), and 6.57% representing others (trainings such as certificates or craftsmanship).

Gender Distribution by Age

In the below chart (see Table 2), the X2 test for gender by age is not statistically significant with (X2 =0.11528> 0.05) at p-value of 0.05. Thus, the results show the absence of gender influence with regards to the hotel worker’s age. However, the distribution based on the respondents of the survey for age groups indicates that 24.1% of the 25-29 years was the highest represented age group followed by 22.6% for both 30-39 years and under 25 years, 21.2% of the 40-49 years, and 9.5% representing the age group of 50 and above years. Amongst these age groups, women were 66.7% of the 25-29 age groups, with men representing 33.3%. Additionally, 67.7% of the 30-39 age groups are women and 32.3% are men, 65.5% of the 40-49 age groups are women and 34.5% are men. In the age group of 50 and above, women were highly represented with 76.9 % as compared to men’s 23.1%. However, in the age bracket of the under 25 years, men were highly represented by 58.0% compared to women’s 42.0%. This could be attributed to an increased number of males accepting the tourisms courses over the past couple of years as not female works, thus resulting in their employment within the hotel sector upon graduation. As such, the pattern could be the reason for the distribution of gender relative to age as indicated below (see Table 1).

Table 1: Gender distribution by age group in France’s Hospitality Industry.

Age Female Male
25-29 Years 22 11
30-39 Years 21 10
40-49 Years 19 10
50 and Above 10 3
Under 25 Years 13 18
Grand Total 85 52
Chi-square X2= 0.11528, p >.05
Gender distribution Across Age.
Figure 1: Gender distribution Across Age.

Gender Distribution by Education

The gender distribution with respect to education is represented in the chart below (see Table 2). From the tabulation below (see Table 2), the Chi-square test indicates the presence of a statistical significance (X2=0.001, p <.05), hence indicating a clear association between gender and the level of education with regards to hospitality industry. In the diagram below (see Figure 3), the cross-tabulation shows that though women and men were equally represented in the Bachelor Degree category with each indicating 50%, 39.1% of women had diploma qualification compared to 60.9%. In the Doctorate category, women were highly represented with 80% of women compared to 20%. Moreover, France’s hospitality industry contained 81% of women with Master Degree as compared to 19% of men. In this case, women had to pursue high qualification to join the hospitality industry as compared to men, thus a gender effect. Among the other categories, only 44% represented women with men occupying 56%.

Table 2: Gender distribution by age group in France’s Hospitality Industry.

Age Female Male
Bachelor Degree 21 21
Diploma 9 14
Doctorate 4 1
Master Degree 47 11
Other 4 5
Grand Total 85 52
Chi-square X2= 0.001, p >.05
Gender distribution by the level of education in France’s hospitality Industry.
Figure 2: Gender distribution by the level of education in France’s hospitality Industry.

Gender Distribution by Earning

The gender distribution tabulated across the monthly pay of France’s hospitality workers in Euros is shown below (see Table 3). From the table, the Chi-square test showed that there was no existence of statistical significance between gender and monthly pay (X2= 0.5308, p >0.05). In this case, the results show no evidence of association between gender and monthly pay. Using the chart illustrated below (see Figure 3), the monthly payment in the category of (5501.00-7000.00) had the highest women representative with 71.8% with 28.2% for men in this category. The salary pay group of (7001.00-15500.00) also had women dominant with 58.8%, with the remaining 41.2% being occupied by men. In addition, the monthly payment group of (Below 5500.00) contained 58% women with 42% for men. Moreover, those in the category of pay group of (above 15000.00) had women with 58.3% representation as compared to 41.7% for men. Even though the majority of the respondents were female, as indicated in Table 1, the Chi-square test proved that there is no gender pay gap amongst workers in France’s hospitality industry.

Table 4: Gender Distribution by earning in Euros in France’s hospitality Industry.

Salary in Euros Female Male Grand Total
5501.00-7000.00 28 11 39
7001.00-15500.00 10 7 17
Above 15500.00 7 5 12
Below 5500.00 40 29 69
Grand Total 85 52 137
Chi-square X2= 0.5308, p >.05
Gender distribution by Salary.
Figure 4: Gender distribution by Salary.

Gender Distribution by Job Position

Based on the job title at France’s hospitality sector from those were sampled for questionnaire, the Table 5 below shows the gender effect and how it is related to the job position. Case in point, the evidence of the statistical significance of the Chi-square test (p <.05) with (X2= 0.00012, p<0.05), indicating a presence of gender bias relative to the job title of the hotel workers.

Table 5: Gender distribution by job position.

Job Position Female Male Grand Total
Junior Management 12 11 23
Middle Management 44 7 51
Non-management 20 22 42
Senior Management 9 12 21
Grand Total 85 52 137
Chi-square X2= 0.00012, p >.05
Gender distribution by Job Position.
Figure 5: Gender distribution by Job Position.

The spread of gender by job title indicates that 86.3% of middle managers are women and 13.7% are men. This is the largest category where most women were dominant. However, 52.2% of junior managers are women, indicating a reduction in this department. Moreover, only 47.6% of the women are non-managers (could be board directors, or the minor jobs as housekeeping). The lowest category where women are underrepresented is the senior management position, indicating a 42.9% with men being highly represented by 57.1%. These results show that in French hotel sector, there are significantly more women than men in the middle management departments, though with little gender differential in the junior and non-management departments. However, greater gender differential is indicated in the senior management category, thus showing a stronger predisposition toward a gender effect in higher ranked management departments.

Men Leading the Senior Manager Positions

Gender inequality exists in the job position, especially the managerial titles in the hotel industry. For instance, according to Liu, Shen, and Gao (2020), the probability of women hotel workers to be attentive to their persuasions about their feelings at work, possess necessary communication and listening skills, and capacity to be adaptable with co-workers and customers is high. As a result, women establish a clear career development as managers through promotions earlier than men. However, only a few of the women get promoted to senior level management. Case in point, the current study comprises of 85 women in the 137 hotel workers in France’s hospitality sector, with a percentage representation of 62.0%. In this case, based on 23 junior managers in the online survey, 12 of them are women, with only 11 men available for the questionnaire in this category, hence 52 % for women and 48% for men relative to the total (see Table 1). As such, women were dominant in the junior management as compared to men. Moreover, with regards to 53 middle managers on the survey respondents, 44 of them were women with only 9 of them being men. As such, the ratios for women against men are 82.9% and 17.1%. However, in the top senior position, gender disparity on women was evident with majority of them being men 12 (57.1%) compared to women 9(42.9%). Consequently, it exposes the high prevalence of males at senior level positions in the hospitality industry, with most women occupying the lower tier job positions.

In a comparative analysis, a research conducted in the U.S. established that among the top senior managers in the hotel sector, only a few female workers occupied the positions with majority being at the junior level management position (Mooney, Ryan and Harris (2017). As a contrast to the scales in the U.S., the current research indicates that both of the women top senior managers and those at the junior category are lower relative to the U.S. (see Table 6). Therefore, from these findings, the present study indicates that despite the high rate of women employment in the hospitality industry in France, only a few women occupy the senior level management.

Women Earlier to Be Middle Managers but more Difficult to be Senior Manager

In the present research, the age group of women middle managers is higher in women compared to men, though each averaging within the age groups of 30-39 years. The result of the t-test is listed in the Table 8 below, where the s difference between the means of women in senior managers and men senior managers on the mean age group was not statistically significant at (t=-0.5, p.05, df=5). As such, based on the age groups, the female managers were higher in middle managers as compared to senior managers where men were dominant. Contrarily, the scale of female senior managers above 50 years is approximately 33%, lower than the 67% of men fellows in the same age category. In essence, young females in the hotel industry have high prospect to be promoted to senior managers compared to older women above 50 years. As such, older women are obstructed from the promotion in their professions in the hospitality industry.

Table 7: Distribution of Gender in relation to Age group and Job Position.

Age group Female Male Grand Total
Junior Management 12 11 23
25-29 Years 5 7 12
30-39 Years 1 3 4
40-49 Years 3 0 3
50 and Above 1 0 1
Under 25 Years 2 1 3
Middle Management 46 8 54
25-29 Years 13 0 13
30-39 Years 16 4 20
40-49 Years 12 3 15
50 and Above 3 0 3
Under 25 Years 2 1 3
Non-management 21 22 43
25-29 Years 4 2 6
30-39 Years 3 3 6
40-49 Years 0 3 3
50 and Above 5 0 5
Under 25 Years 9 14 23
Senior Management 6 11 17
25-29 Years 0 2 2
30-39 Years 1 0 1
40-49 Years 4 4 8
50 and Above 1 3 4
Under 25 Years 0 2 2
Grand Total 85 52 137

Table 8: Analysis of t-test one-tail.

Variable 1 Variable 2
Mean 1.8 2
Variance 4.2 2
Observations 5 5
Pearson Correlation 0.51754917
Hypothesized Mean Difference 0.2
df 4
t Stat -0.5
P(T<=t) one-tail 0.321664982
t Critical one-tail 2.131846786

Family Influence on Gender Disparity

In the family responsibility section of the questionnaire, the hotel employees were asked the following questions: a) Are you married?; b) Does your spouse work?; c) Does your spouse actively support you in your career?; d) Do you have children?; e) What is the mode of child care while at work?; and f) How many hours in average do you spend to care for your children?. The analyses of the above questions and their relevant responses are presented in Table 9. Two forms of coefficient of correlation analyses were applied on Table 9 below: one descriptive analysis of YES or NO responses with t-test for equal variances and another descriptive analysis derived based on other family responsibility questions using two sample t-tests. In this case, the first analysis is applied to evaluate the presence or absence of a gender bias in the family involvement and support with work-related tasks. However, the second two sample t-tests analysis was used to assess if a gender difference, which forms the other form of gender influence in the family, is present or absent in the sample data.

In the first t-test for equal variances, with the mean value being equal to 1.5 or equivalently representing the midpoint of the male and females, where there is an equal chance between both the male and females’ decisions favoring both genders. Since the scale used in the research ranged from “1= females to 2= males, the sign of the arithmetic t-test signifies the direction of the likelihood of any gender bias with regards to YES or NO questions on family support issues. Case in point, a negative connotation of the t-test stat indicates a decision orientation towards females, while a positive connotation t-test corresponds to a decision orientation towards men. In the case for this analysis, with a t-test=-8.30275, p=.05, df=134, thus no evidence of gender bias towards female hotel workers in relation to family support and statistical significance.

Table 9: T-test analysis for Family responses with YES or NO. 

Variable 1 Variable 2
Mean 6.694118 7.843137
Variance 3.119608 3.454902
Observations 85 51
Pooled Variance 3.244718
Hypothesized Mean Difference 1.5
df 134
t Stat -8.30275
P(T<=t) one-tail 4.88E-14
tCritical one-tail 1.656305

In the second analysis, two sample t-tests involved the comparison of means for both female respondents against the male counterparts, thus reflecting the presence of statistical hypothesis that the mean values for both genders are equal against those that are not equal. In essence, the t-significance (or p-value) shows whether or not the different genders indicated presence or absence of diverse significance in their responses with regards to questions (e) and (f) listed above. Therefore, a significant variation would identify the presence of a gender difference in relation to (e) what is the mode of child care while at work, and (f) How many hours in average do you spend on caring for your children.

In the tables below (Table 10 and Figure 6), results for the two-sample t-tests are presented corresponding to all the responses from the survey questions that indicate that hotel workers perceive gender difference with reference to the questions e. In the Table 10, the results indicate no statistical significance of gender effect with regards to the choice of mode of child care with t-test indicating (t Stat=0.0, p>.05, df=8). In this case, the most prevalent mode of child care, as mentioned by the female category was the “other” with 58.2% of the all “other” respondents as compared to 41.8% from the male category. In addition, the majority of women than men mentioned “child at school” as the mode of child care with 63.9% as compared to 36.1% of men. In this case, many of the women child support through “parent/spouse”, “Day Care Centre”, and “Baby Sitter” were the lowest with only 9.4%, 5.9%, and 11.7%, respectively.

In essence, many women did not recognize the presence of spouse support at homes, or through payment of child care at the care center or the employments of nannies for baby sitter. However, this could also be limited to the age of the children which did not form part of this survey. Based on the analysis, there is the existence of gender difference between the answers provided by female respondents as compared to male fellows. Specifically, male employees believe that apart from children at school, the only other prevalent mode of care of children is other. However, the “other” category could also involve those who have no children. Therefore, the “children at school” category is of most significance to the report for both genders.

Table 10: t-test analysis and table of mode of child care by Gender.

Mode of Child Care Female Male Grand Total
Baby Sitter 10 3 13
Children at School 23 13 36
Day Care Centre 5 3 8
Other 39 28 67
Partner/Spouse 8 5 13
Grand Total 85 52 137
t Stat=0.0, p>.05, df=8
Distribution of mode of child care by gender.
Figure 6: Distribution of mode of child care by gender.

In the tables below (Table 11), results for the two-sample t-tests are presented consistent with all the responses from the survey questions that indicate that hospitality employees in France observe gender difference with reference to the questions f. In the Table 11, the rates show the absence of statistical significance between gender and time take for each particular gender employee to take care of their children while at work (t stat=0.0, p>.05, df=8). For this category, the respondents who chose “less than 5 hours” seemed to be engaged a lot with other family chores. For instance, it is evident that the majority of women (58.2%) responded that they needed at least less than 5 hours to take care of their children as compared to men (41.8%). As such, the majority of these time frameworks are hypothesized to be committed with office work than family issues, thus high representation. However, in the time frame of 5-10 hours, which majorly corresponds with the time take off the office work, still women are dominant (68.4%­) as compared to men (31.8%). In addition, the time group of 10-15 hours is also dominated by women (65.2%) in relation to men (34.8%). However, both of 15-20 hours and the over 20 hours indicated equal time-sharing for spending with their children with each ranked 50%. From the above analysis, there is evidence of gender difference in response to how the hotel workers balance their office work and child caring time spent.

Table 11: t-test analysis Mean difference and table of Time taken for child care by Gender.

Time Female Male Grand Total
10-15 Hours 15 8 23
15-20 Hours 2 2 4
5-10 Hours 26 12 38
Less than 5 Hours 40 28 68
Over 20 Hours 2 2 4
Grand Total 85 52 137
t Stat=0.0, p>.05, df=8
Gender distribution by time taken for child care.
Figure 7: Gender distribution by time taken for child care.

Gender Equality Issues and Challenges

The relative influence of employee’s responses to their perception of work-related gender inequality with regards to the questionnaire statements: a) I have experienced gender discrimination in the workplace; b) my supervisor does not consider gender while delegating job assignment; c) My gender does influence my profession; d) Peers will treat me differently because of my gender. In response to these statements, an analysis using the Pearson’s correlation coefficient was performed for each statement (the results are not tabulated). In each statement, the independent variable was the gender, with the responses of “strongly agree”, agree, neutral, disagree, and strongly disagree as dependent variables, thus producing a linear parameters.

With respect to the experience of gender discrimination in workplace in the hotel industry in France, there was the presence of perfect positive correlation indicating the presence of gender discrimination with regards to gender (ρ=+1). Although the majority of the hotel workers in all management departments believed that there is no presence of gender discrimination with “disagree” and “neutral” responses being the equally highest responses, the presence of positive coefficient of correlation is a stronger proof that there is gender discrimination in the hospitality industry in France. Gender inequality with respect to the statement “my supervisor does not consider gender while delegating job assignment” showed a negative poor correlation (ρ= -0.01633 ≈0.00) with rank test indicating that the response “neutral” was prevalent in both gender.

The issue of gender inequality in response to the statement “My gender does influence my profession” the presence or absence of linear regression was performed. In this case, the Pearson’s correlation coefficient indicated an almost perfect positive correlation (ρ=+1=/≈1) indicating the presence of gender influence in relation to an individual profession. In this part, both genders affirmed that there is the existence of gender influence with regards to their profession where the response “Agree” was the most ranked amongst the other responses. On the other statement pertaining to “Peers will treat me differently because of my gender”, the result indicated a negatively poor coefficient of correlation (ρ= -0.15375≈0.00). Moreover, there was greater disparity in the responses provided by both genders, with female ranking high in the “strongly disagree” and men ranking high in the “Agree” part.

In the last part of the survey, the questionnaire regarding the challenges faced by women employees in hotels in France was performed based on the following questions and statements: a) There are salary gaps among the same level in my organization, b) I am looking forward to promotion/career advancement in my current company, c) There are wide opportunities for training to meet my needs, and d) I face difficulties in combining office work with family work. Using Pearson’s coefficient of correlation, the results indicated poor negative coefficient correlation in question (a) (ρ= -0.18655≈0.00) and statement (d) (ρ= -0.157327≈0.00). However, no coefficient correlation was established in both statements (b) and (c) with (ρ= -0.02003≈0.00 and ρ= 0.00438≈0.00), respectively. Therefore, in terms of salary gaps, training, promotion, and family difficulties, the majority in this category noted minimal gender bias with the results indicating either poor or no coefficient correlation in the study.

Recommendations

Both the gender discrimination and the common gender-based labor division, especially in the management roles in hotels are the major obstacles that were established to be the course for gender inequality in corporate leadership in France. In the non-management category, the women were found to be a dominant force because the department comprised of such roles as kitchen works, security personnel, and other light jobs such as a waitress. In this case, these kinds of positions are thought to be the type of job roles for women by most hotel employees as compared to engineering departments or other senior management positions. In the family support and tasks, it is evident that many of the women indicated that they spent much of their time at home caring for their children in relation to men.

As such, the concept of traditional women being allocated the role to stay at home for household maintenance is still present in France. This is in support of the research conducted by Van der Lippe and Lippényi (2018), which established that women staying at home for household chores were a reason for the existence of conflict between the family and office work. Case in point, many women top managers, middle managers acknowledged that women carried the heavy responsibility of taking care of their family, hence, increased incompetency at work with the time-consuming tasks as top managers. Consequently, a lot of their works are left unattended at the office, resulting in low-quality work which reflects in low promotion to senior management positions. As a matter of fact, the gender-based roles women possess are a source of challenge in balancing family and work in order to become an expert manager in the hospitality industry.

Moreover, women employees have to face gender discrimination in their professional growth. The effect is relatively described to as “glass ceiling” or the “horizontal sex segregation” (González-Serrano et al., 2018; Segovia-Pérez, et al., 2019). In France, it was evident that the “glass ceiling” was an invisible hurdle that deterred many women from breaking the glass ceiling to reach the senior management position. In the notion of “horizontal sex segregation,” it describes such a phenomenon that women face as congregating in a job position with lesser prospects of promotion as compared to the opposite gender employees, thus less promotion for women.

Moreover, the “glass ceiling” allegory as used in this study might be used to denotes the invisible hurdles women faced, despite the presence of gender equality in the salary payment in most hotels in France. In this case, the metaphor confers to the contribution of the existence of disparity in the job management positions as women attempt to break the glass ceiling and climb the professional ladder. In essence, the present research study has uncovered the various complex issues that focus on either the women as the course for their corporate leadership downfall or the presence of such contextual fundamentals as the social norms and hospitality firms’ practices, thus gender inequality. However, different from women’s experiences, men in most of the women-dominated employments have realized increased benefits because of the “glass elevator”, hence, contributing to the high set of imperceptible factors that necessitate their career development.

Therefore, both the concept of “glass ceiling” and “glass elevator” can be diverged through the enactment of such policies as adopting gender mainstreaming strategies. Regardless, on the assumption that the phenomena are alleged as leading contributions of gender inequality from the complicated set of intersectionality theory and WFC, wider changes need to be integrated. In this case, the changes must intervene in both the notion of labor market issues to maintain the actual gender equality at the top of management hierarchy.

As such, despite the elevated existence of female workers in the hospitality industry in France, the current empirical evidence points towards persistent gender discrimination and horizontal sex segregation, as well as family-work conflict- a situation described to contribute to lost employment opportunities to the majority of women in the sector. González-Serrano et al. (2018) describes the Barbara Risma’s model of “Gender as Social Structure”. In the research, the article the gender inequality in the hospitality sector is illustrated using the Riesman’s “three model of the person, its interaction, and the organizational.” According to González-Serrano et al. (2018), there is the interaction of the Risman’s model and the intersectionality theory, hence conforming to the presence of “Gender as Social Structure in the Hotel and Tourism Sector” model. From the research illustrations, the model is used to underpin the casual factors of gender-based discrimination. Such causal factors include self-imposed barriers, gender characters, difficulties related to work-life reconciliation and concerns associated with gendered administrations. Hence, the above findings are in support of the current research conclusions about the presence of family-work issues, gender segregation, and self-inflicted barriers imposed by women as the leading causes of gender imbalance.

In France, the illustrated family and work conflict is the leading course of hurdle faced by women in their career growth. According to González-Serrano et al. (2018), women gave up their office management work to have enough time for the family and child caring roles. Furthermore, certain women had to start from the grass-roots upon resuming work after child caring periods. In essence, their career path is narrowed with several barriers on the way to the top management position.

As the most important department in hospitality industry, the non-management comprises the largest share of the management roles in hospitality sector. The present research indicates that although the percentage of women as junior and middle managers is large, the rate of women as senior managers is still low. In this case, the “glass ceiling” of female professional growth is comparatively unresolved in France. Female workers are seen to lead top management positions in high numbers in the U.S., which is very low in France (see Table 5). In fact, the majority of women work at inadequate junior positions in France at front office, housekeeping, and other marketing departments. For this reason, women workers possess a narrower path for professional growth in France’s hotels, yet with substantial evidence of horizontal sex segregation.

As a recommendation, and with the enactment of the “gender equality” policy, the progression of women’s development in hotel management has been emphasized in France, especially in the role of human resource management. However, the evidence is that the promotion path of female workers in Frances’s hotel industry is still encountered with a lot of barriers. As such, the study tries to showcase the features of professional growth of managers in hospitality sector. In essence, the research indicates that in comparison to men, women promotion to top management positions are done later and harder to become senior managers in most hotels in France. Moreover, in comparison to the same situation in the U.S., France’s occupation advancement of women is thinner, yet with presence of horizontal sex segregation. The stand out point is that the family/work conflict, gender -based labor division, and gender discrimination are the leading hurdles present in women occupation progress.

To establish the “gender equality” policy in France, reassuring women to avoid any obstacles in their career development, the following policy strategies should be enacted: The government should ensure that the traditional concept of women being the managers of family housework will help in the enlightening their burden as women in a family. Second, society should ensure that women are accorded enough stage to showcase their career potential. Third, France’s hospitality industry should change the gender discrimination tag and stereotype for roles of women in management and try to remove the horizontal sex segregation in the occupational growth path for female workers, thus facilitating the progression of women in the hotel industry.

In conclusion, the present results must be put in the framework of possible research limitations and future research directions. For instance, the limitation to do with gender diversity with regards to hotel classification was not conducted. From the survey questionnaire, there was no indication the level of ‘star’ hotels the respondents were coming from. And as such, the concept of one-to-five star hotels was in France was not investigated. The realization of future research studies on whether the inclusion of the level of hotels would have any impact on the study of gender inequality in the hospitality industry is therefore in a doubt. Secondly, such limitations that comprise the geographical locations of the present study, in this case, France might have on the generalization of its results in other locations or countries were not taken into account during the survey. In this regard, future research should be directed into answering whether the same conclusion can be made in other developed or developing nations, noting that the compassion analysis in this study was only based in the U.S. from another research study.

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