Male Domination of Hospitality Industry in Canada

Male Domination of Hospitality Industry in Canada

As in much of the world, Canada operates in ways that lead to discrimination based on gender. This often results in women being denied “a fair share” of benefits and opportunities relative to their actions and contributions.

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Female employees dominate Canada’s service and retail trade industries, but the wages and promotional scales do not reflect this fact. In one four-year study, females earned an average of forty percent less than males in the service industry and only 34% were promoted to managerial positions.

This report aims to establish an understanding of gender inequality in the hospitality industry in Canada. The objectives of this reports include: identifying the reasons why men dominate managerial positions in Canada; discussing reasons for preferential treatment for men in the hospitality industry; and examining potential motivations for females to pursue managerial positions and any obstacles they face.


In almost every industry in Canada, women occupy a very small proportion of the higher-level positions. A 1992 study found that this is especially true in the hospitality industry, where 71% of men held management positions, whereas only 34% of women had reached those positions.

The hospitality industry is “male-oriented,” despite the fact that women are more present in the industry. According to recent statistics, clerical and service occupations account for more than 50% of the female labor force.

Most studies agree that women and men differ in terms of motivations for going for managerial positions in any industry. Men and women have different ways of thinking, different ways of working and managing.

It is important to note that even though Canada is a fully developed, first world country, the gap between what men and women earn in Canada continues to be substantial. Recent statistics indicate that women in Canada currently earn less than 70% of what men earn.


Management Today study shows that women managers are better with customers, more efficient, more trustworthy, and more generous and understanding with colleagues than their male counterparts. However, Canadian society as a whole believes that men, mainly because of the opportunities and training they receive, make better managers than women. Therefore, evem though females make up most of the hospitality industry’s workforce, they are rarely promoted to managerial roles.

The gender inequality is partially due to the lack of concern of the Canadian government, which fails to implement policies that successfully narrow this gap and insure that impediments, which interfere with the ability of women to earn incomes and secure managerial positions at a level equal to men, are removed.

Women are also prevented from achieving equal status in the hospitality industry because Canadian society continues to pigeonhole them into certain jobs, which have been historically characterized as “women’s work.” More than 70% of women workers in the hospitality industry are never promoted to managerial positions because it is a common conception that managerial work is a “man’s job.”

In addition, since males dominate the managerial positions and often lack gender sensitization, women are more likely to be left out when it is time to consider hiring a new manager. Men simply look to the next qualified male.

In defense of Canadian employers, statistics also show that there are twice as many women than men in the service and hospitality industry who work part-time. Since workplaces with a considerable part-time workforce tend to pay their full-time employees more money and promote them quicker, women are often overlooked for promotions, despite their skills and experience.

In conclusion, Canadian women face discrimination based not only on their gender, but also on race, age, ethnicity, disability and sexual orientation. Yet many continue to pursue management positions in the service and hospitality industries for numerous reasons, including higher pay, better job security, more benefits and a more respectable title. The absence of human resource policies and strategies in many companies in this field is a deterrent to gender diversity. The work environment and culture are not conducive to promoting women in management. This prevents women’s accessibility to top management positions. For example, there are no programs to facilitate the advancement of women as role models, absence of mentoring programs, and lack of management training programs.


Gender Inequality in Canada: A Status Report for 2001 National Action Committee on the Status of Women and the CSJ Foundation.

Statistics Canada’s Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics.

Hennig, M. & Jardin, A. (1977). The managerial woman. Anchor Press:Garden City, New York.

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