Assessing gender representation in knowledge production: a critical analysis of UNWTO’s planned events

C. Khoo, E.C.L. Yang, J.S. Je

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


With critical feminism as its epistemological lens, this study employed a content analysis on the 121 events organised and/or held by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in 2017. The aim was to investigate where UNWTO stands in terms of knowledge production, and to what extent if any, the invited speakers reinforce stereotypes that undermine women’s expertise and intellectual competencies; or meet their goals to achieve gender equality and empowerment of women and girls in tourism. Data on gender was intersected with ethnicity for a more dynamic understanding of how tourism knowledge is produced and disseminated. This paper provides a compelling case study for how the marginalisation of gender and its intersection with ethnicity can be explained by enduring forms of implicit bias, including both unconscious sexism and racism. The study contributes to knowledge by extending the audit of gender representation in tourism knowledge production beyond academe. It identifies the notion of femwashing and proposes a conceptual framework of tourism knowledge production. Actionable recommendations are provided to promote the fifth United Nation’s sustainable development goal (i.e. gender equality) at an institutional level. © 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)920-938
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Sustainable Tourism
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • event
  • Gender equality
  • gender representation
  • tourism
  • UNSDGs
  • critical analysis
  • empowerment
  • ethnicity
  • feminism
  • gender relations
  • gender role
  • knowledge
  • marginalization
  • stereotypic behavior
  • sustainable development
  • United Nations


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