press release
Published: 08 March 2018

Surrey academics awarded €195,000 to help women entrepreneurs in the tourism industry

The University of Surrey has been given €195,000 from the European Union to help female entrepreneurs break the glass ceiling in the tourism industry.

Pupils having a discussion

Dr Cristina Figueroa Domecq and Professor Allan Williams from the University’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (SHTM) were awarded an EU Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellowship. This funding will allow Dr Figueroa Domecq, currently at Rey Juan Carlos University in Madrid, to take up a post as a research fellow at the SHTM for two years, to investigate the barriers women entrepreneurs face in the tourism industry. 

Dr Figueroa Domecq, together with Professor Williams, Dr Albert Kimbu and Dr Anna de Jong will analyse the different paths women entrepreneurs in Spain and the UK take – working closely with a number of policy and industry bodies in both countries. They will also survey potential entrepreneurs, interview groups of men and women entrepreneurs and analyse their use of social media as a resource. 

Dr Cristina Figueroa Domecq said: “This is a pressing issue that’s close to my heart. There were just 29 per cent of female entrepreneurs in Europe in 2012, but this represented a 1 per cent decrease from 2008. We believe that in tourism, only one third of entrepreneurs are women.  

“I am hoping that this project will help us understand what is happening and why there seems to be a barrier to entry for women in tourism. I want to thank the EU and the University for their support and I can’t wait to get started.”

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