WOMEN’S EMPLOYMENT IN TOURISM SECTOR IN TURKEY, ISSUES FACED, AND THE EFFECT OF GLASS CEILING SYNDROME ON WOMEN WORKFORCE IN TOURISM*

Hacer Neyir TEKELİ

STRUCTURED ABSTRACT

According to the reports of the World Labor Organization Global Study Trends of recent years; 3 Billion people are employed worldwide. While 1.2 billion of the 3 billion working capacity is composed of the female labor force, 1.8 billion of it is the male labor force.The fact that the tourism industry creates employment for some developing countries, contributes many economic sectors, revitalizes investments and creates income makes a significant contribution to the national economies.

Today, the tourism industry the star of the service sector; provides employment opportunities to around 210 million people in the world and 45% of this area is composed of female labor force while 55% is male employees.In addition to globalization and technological developments, the tourism sector is an important sector for countries in terms of employment opportunities and incomes.

In the world, women’s involvement in business life began after the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century.The Industrial Revolution has been almost a milestone for women to start working for wage. XIX. Century Women in many Western countries, especially in England women, have formed a significant part of the total workforce.In these countries, industrialization started with woven fabrication and women accounted for an important part of the total labor force.In the years following the Industrial Revolution, the number of women labor force increased rapidly in parallel with the developments in the weaving sector; especially the technical developments, in other words, machines simplifying the production techniques, the labor division and specialization, made it easier to benefit from women’s labor,  and that brought the fact that women’s power in the weaving industry, has been more successful than men (Kocacık ve Gökkaya, 2005, p.41).After the Industrial Revolution, women were employed in various sectors.The working conditions of women working in the same jobs as men were tried to be improved in favor of women, both by government decisions and corporate policies.However, in spite of social differences, women have been secondary particularly in male-dominated societies.

As in the rest of the world, women’s participation in working life has also improved in parallel with the industrialization in our country.However, the basis of women’s participation in economic and social life has begun with the Proclamation of the Republic. In Turkey; Despite the social and economic rights granted after the proclamation of the Republic, it is a fact that nowadays, women employees have some problems in business life and face obstacles. Since 20th century the participation of women in the business world in the world and in Turkey is increasing. In research and statistics, it is seen that women’s employment is generally in lower levels and they are not sufficiently involved in the “high level management’ positions.Although the female population in the world constitutes almost half of the society, the reason why women cannot participate in managerial positions in the working life from the past to the present.is indicated to be the framework determined most of the time by societies on the roles that women should take on (Uzun, 2004, p.23).Although there are many reasons that cause this situation, it is stated that many women workers still have to work under a ‘glass ceiling’ that they cannot break. Glass ceiling syndrome can be defined as non-material obstacles and artificial barriers that prevent women or minorities from gaining higher positions in a hierarchical structure.The concept is generally used in the literature for female employees.The word glass ceiling began to be used for the first time in the USA in the 1970s to describe invisible, artificial barriers stemming from behavioral and organizational prejudices that prevent women from reaching top management positions (Wirth, 2001, p.652).The concept of glass ceiling from time to time is called by different names in different studies, but basically all these concepts represent invisible obstacles that prevent women from advancing in their career steps.

This syndrome is an obstacle coming in the career development journeys of female employees,refers to invisible glass ceilings that prevent women from reaching the upper management levels.The concept of glass ceiling is defined as artificial barriers placed on the development of women and minorities.In other words, the glass ceiling is an unbreakable obstacle that does not appear without taking into account, the talents and achievements of women and minorities keeps them from climbing to the upper ranks of the company (Cotter etc., 2001. p.656).

The study is a theoretical research in order to create awareness in order to ensure that women take part more especially in the tourism sector and to reveal the negative effects of glass ceiling syndrome on performance.It aims to draw attention to the female employees, especially the female employees employed in the tourism industry, to the career barriers in front of them and to the glass ceiling syndrome.The study is important in terms of forming a basis for a comprehensive field research in the tourism industry in the future.

Taking into consideration that throughout the world and especially in Turkey there are still unresolved questions of women; as in every industry, the tourism industry is also affected by these problems in women’s employment. The correct positioning of women’s place in the society and thus in the tourism industry will only be possible by eliminating the barriers that women workers face in the industry and evaluating opportunities. In order to prevent gender discrimination which makes women’s position quite problematic and which causes women to be exposed to injustice, and to improve the conditions of women workers, it is necessary to employ young people who are more conscious, educated and have the potential to produce solutions to these problems. In order to resolve mechanisms keeping women in low status, low income and depriving them job insurance in Tourism Sector and it is of great importance for the tourism industry to conduct more extensive research on this subject for the monitoring of originality on Turkey.

Keywords: Female Employment in Tourism, Problems in Female Employment in Tourism, Glass Ceiling Syndrome

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