The Maldives is a popular tourist destination known for its pristine beaches, stunning landscapes, and luxurious resorts. However, behind the scenes, a hardworking team of professionals in the hospitality industry is what keeps the wheels turning. A substantial proportion of the workforce consists of women, many of whom belong to minority groups, particularly local women. Juggling work and family life is a challenge for anyone, but working mothers in the hospitality industry face a unique set of difficulties.
Here, we delve into the daily lives of working mothers with the aim to shed light on the challenges and support systems available in the industry and showcase their resilience and strength.
Women face a multitude of challenges in their daily lives. Long hours and irregular schedules, which are common in the industry, often leave little time for family and personal pursuits. Balancing work and family responsibilities can be especially challenging, as many people struggle to find the time and energy to care for their children and perform household duties. The demanding nature of the work and the lack of flexibility in scheduling can also make it challenging for mothers to be present for their children.
In addition to these challenges, they may face discrimination, physical demands, and a lack of benefits and opportunities for advancement. Jobs in the industry can be physically demanding, making it tough for women who are also caring for young children. Many jobs may not offer benefits such as paid time off, healthcare, or flexible work arrangements, making it challenging for women to take care of their families. Moreover, discrimination and stereotypes based on gender and caregiving responsibilities can impact their opportunities for advancement and recognition at work, making it difficult to achieve their goals. Pay disparities and wage gaps are also major concerns, making it difficult to support families financially. These challenges underscore the need for greater support and resources for parents in the hospitality industry.
Despite these challenges, women in the hospitality industry are not without support. Employee benefits and programs, such as flexible schedules and paid maternity leave, are becoming increasingly common in the industry. Support from colleagues and supervisors, in the form of encouragement and understanding, is also crucial. Community initiatives and organizations, such as parent support groups and mentorship programs, are important sources of support. Finally, government policies and regulations, such as equal pay laws and parental leave policies, are crucial in creating a supportive environment for women in the workplace.
To mitigate the challenges, a few solutions can be implemented by the employers themselves. Firstly, hotels can offer more flexible scheduling options, such as telecommuting and job-sharing, to allow women to balance their work and family life. Additionally, hotels can offer on-site childcare or partner with local day-care centres to provide affordable and accessible childcare options. To address the limited career advancement opportunities, hotels can implement mentorship programs and provide training and development opportunities to aid advance in their careers.
In spite of the obstacles they face, women are resilient and determined to succeed. Time management and prioritisation are key to overcoming adversity and balancing work and family life. Seeking support and networking with others in similar circumstances is another important step. Developing a positive work-life balance is crucial, as it allows them to find joy and fulfilment in both their professional and personal lives. Finally, investing in personal and professional development, through continuing education and skill-building opportunities, is crucial for anyone looking to advance their careers.
We hope that this will inspire and empower women and mothers in the hospitality industry of the Maldives. By implementing flexible scheduling options, accessible and affordable childcare, and career advancement opportunities, these difficulties can be diminished. By providing the necessary support, the Maldives’ hospitality industry can not only retain talent but also help promote gender equality in the workplace.
*Feature picture: Fushifaru Maldives