Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Barriers to Women's Career Advancement in the New Zealand Hospitality Industry

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posted on 2021-12-09, 11:19 authored by Macpherson, Leah

The glass ceiling effect is a widely researched phenomenon that highlights the multi-layered barriers to women’s exclusion in senior management positions internationally. Traditionally, research has focused on evidence for the deficit in women’s promotion in predominately corporate spheres with minimal inclusion of service sectors. The following research will address a key literature gap in the context of New Zealand, with an analysis of the glass ceiling barriers for career women in the hospitality industry. The qualitative study utilised a postmodern feminist lens and included 13 semi-structured interviews with current female duty managers in the localised Wellington, NZ region. The study found that the glass ceiling effect was maintained for female managers through the production of misogynistic cultures, gender-stereotyping, and old boys’ networks that functioned on intersectional levels. Obstacles were produced through customers, industry norms, and organisational practices that minimised participants ability to perform general operations, garner promotions, or access support in detrimental circumstances. The research concludes that women’s professional development is hindered due to the interplay of workplace structures, broader socio-cultural beliefs, and resistance to female leadership. Based on the findings, recommendations for further emphasis on equitable and ethical industry practices are outlined to address the glass ceiling effect, thereby increasing employee investment and retention.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Education

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Education


McDonald, Lex