Nepalese (New) Women Workers in the Hotel Industry: Exploring Women’s Work and Respectability

  • Mona Shrestha Adhikari


This chapter uses qualitative data to explore the experiential accounts of women workers in the hotel industry in Nepal as they perform and resist gendered work, aesthetic and sexualised labour. Findings illustrate that management has a role to play in the way femininity is produced; management expects and controls women’s work, aesthetic and sartorial practices and performances of labour through organisational codes of conduct. However, as a consequence of trade union, the presumably new power structure, women appear to be engaged in resisting and negotiating with the organisational codes of conduct. In the Nepalese context where growth of tourism industry is instrumental in the development of the country, could this indicate the emergence of ‘new’ women workers within the hotel industry?


  1. Acker, J. 1990. Hierarchies, Jobs, Bodies: A Theory of Gendered Organizations. Gender and Society 4 (2): 139–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adkins, L. 1995. Gendered Work: Sexuality, Power and Work. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  3. ———. 2001. Cultural Feminization: Money, Sex and Power for Women. Signs 26 (3): 669–695.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ansari, N. 2016. Respectable Femininity: A Significant Panel of Glass Ceiling for Career Women. Gender in Management: An International Journal 31 (8): 528–541.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Central Bureau of Statistics. 1999. Nepal Labour Force Survey 1998/99 Statistical Report. Kathmandu: Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), Government of Nepal.Google Scholar
  6. ———. 2004. Nepal Living Standards Survey 2003/04. Kathmandu: Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), Government of Nepal.Google Scholar
  7. ———. 2009. Nepal Labour Force Survey 2008 Statistical Report. Kathmandu: Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), Government of Nepal.Google Scholar
  8. ———. 2011. National Population Census: Preliminary Results. Kathmandu: Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), Government of Nepal.Google Scholar
  9. Chandler, S., and J. Jones. 2003. Because a Better World Is Possible: Women Casino Workers, Union Activism and the Creation of a Just Workplace. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare XXX (4): 58–78.Google Scholar
  10. Charles, N. 1993. Gender Divisions and Social Change. Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf.Google Scholar
  11. Chatterjee, S. 2016. ‘English Vinglish’ and Bollywood: What Is ‘New’ About the ‘New Woman’? Gender, Places & Cultures 23 (8): 1179–1192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cockburn, C. 1991. In the Way of Women: Men’s Resistance to Sex Equality in Organizations. London: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Crompton, R., and K. Sanderson. 1990. Gendered Jobs and Social Change. London: Unwin Hyman.Google Scholar
  14. Dellinger, K. 2002. Wearing Gender and Sexuality “On Your Sleeve”: Dress Norms and the Importance of Occupational and Organizational Culture at Work. Gender Issues 20 (1): 3–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Deshotels, T., and C.J. Forsyth. 2006. Strategic Flirting and the Emotional Tab of Exotic Dancing. Deviant Behavior 27 (2): 223–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dixit, K.M. 2011. Peace Politics of Nepal: An Opinion from Within. Kathmandu: Himal Books.Google Scholar
  17. Enarson, E. 1993. Emotion Workers on the Production Lines: The Feminizing of Casino Card Dealing. NWSA Journal 5 (2): 218–232.Google Scholar
  18. Fernando, W.D.A., and L. Cohen. 2013. Respectable Femininity and Career Agency: Exploring Paradoxical Imperatives. Gender, Work and Organization 21 (2): 141–169.Google Scholar
  19. Filby, M. 1992. The Figures, the Personality and the Bums: Service Work and Sexuality. Work, Employment and Society 6 (1): 23–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Forseth, U. 2005. Gender Matters? Exploring How Gender Is Negotiated in Service Encounters. Gender, Work and Organization 12 (5): 440–459.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hakim, C. 1981. Job Segregation: Trends in the 1970s. Employment Gazette 89: 521–529.Google Scholar
  22. Hall, E. 1993. Smiling, Deferring, and Flirting: Doing Gender by Giving “Good Service”. Work and Occupations 20 (4): 452–471.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hicks, L. 1990. Excluded Women: How Can This Happen in the Hotel World? The Service Industries Journal 10 (2): 348–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hochschild, A. [1983]2003. The Managed Heart: Commercialisation of Human Feeling. California: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  25. Hotel Association of Nepal. 2001. List of the Hotel in Alphabetic Order. Hotel Association of Nepal (HAN). Available from: Accessed 10 Apr 2008.
  26. Hussein, N. 2015. Boundaries of Respectability: New Women of Bangladesh. PhD Thesis, University of Warwick, Coventry.Google Scholar
  27. ———. Negotiating Middle-Class Respectable Femininity: Bangladeshi Women and Their Families. South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal [Online] (16).Google Scholar
  28. International Labour Organisation. 2004. Sexual Harassment at the Workplace in Nepal. Kathmandu: International Labour Organization (ILO).Google Scholar
  29. Jones, J., and S. Chandler. 2007. Surveillance and Regulation: Control of Women Casino Workers’ Bodies. Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work 22 (2): 150–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Khanal, M. 2005. Tourism and Employment from Gender Perspective: A Study of Five-star Hotels of the Kathmandu Valley. Post Graduate Diploma Thesis, Padma Kanya Multiple Campus, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu.Google Scholar
  31. Levy, D.E., and P.B. Lerch. 1991. Tourism as a Factor in Development Implications for Gender and Work in Barbados. Gender and Society 5 (1): 67–85.Google Scholar
  32. Liechty, M. 2003. Suitably Modern: Making Middle Class Culture in a New Consumer Society. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  33. ———. 2005. Carnal Economies: The Commodification of Food and Sex in Kathmandu. Cultural Anthropology 20 (1): 1–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. McDowell, L. 2007. Gender Divisions of Labour: Sex, Gender, Sexuality and Embodiment in the Service Sector. In The Handbook of Service Industries, ed. J.R. Bryson and P.W. Daniels, 395–408. Cheltenham/Northampton: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  35. ———. 2009. Working Bodies: Interactive Service Employment and Workplace Identities. Sussex: Wiley & Sons Ltd.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Pettinger, L. 2005. Gendered Work Meets Gendered Goods: Selling and Service in Clothing Retail. Gender, Work and Organization 12 (5): 460–478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Prashain, S. 2011. Trade Union Leaders Urge Casino Owners to Clear Dues. The Kathmandu Post, February 14, Kathmandu.Google Scholar
  38. Radhakrishnan, S. 2009. Professional Women, Good Families: Respectable Femininity and the Cultural Politics of a ‘New’ India. Qualitative Sociology 32 (2): 195–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Sallaz, J. 2005. ‘It’s an Empowerment Thing’: An Ethnography of Colour Bar Conservation in a South African Service Industry. Society in Transition 36 (1): 38–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sinclair, T.M., ed. 1997. Gender, Work and Tourism. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  41. Thomas, R., and A. Davies. 2005. What Have the Feminists Done for Us? Feminist Theory and Organizational Resistance. Organization 12 (5): 711–740.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Upadhyay, R.P., H. Pradhan, and R. Grandon. 2011. Women in Nepalese Tourism: Opportunities and Challenges. Varanasi: Pilgrims Pub.Google Scholar
  43. Warhurst, C., and D. Nickson. 2009. ‘Who’s Got the Look?’ Emotional, Aesthetic and Sexualised Labour in Interactive Services. Gender, Work and Organization 16 (3): 385–404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Warhurst, C., D. Nickson, A. Witz, and A.M. Cullen. 2000. Aesthetic Labour in Interactive Service Work: Some Case Study Evidence from the ‘New’ Glasgow. The Service Industries Journal 20 (3): 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Wolkowitz, C. 2006. Bodies at Work. London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mona Shrestha Adhikari
    • 1
  1. 1.Enterprise for ManagementEconomic Reform and Gender EqualityKathmanduNepal

Personalised recommendations