An exploratory analysis of culinary educators’ constructs of gender equality Public Deposited

It is commonly understood that gender inequality exists in society. The workplace is one area where gender inequality is prevalent. Women are paid less than men and promoted into positions of prestige less often. The restaurant industry mirrors this phenomenon. Women comprise the vast majority of restaurant industry workers, working in the least-skilled and lowest-paid positions. Opportunities for women to obtain high levels of skill and education have failed to advance women in the restaurant industry. For these reasons, it is important to investigate the relationship between gender inequality, culinary education, and the restaurant industry to discern possible areas of mitigation. I investigate this relationship using qualitative exploratory research methods to analyze the websites of culinary educational programs. My main research question is: How are culinary educational programs addressing gender inequality in the restaurant industry? The findings show explicit attempts to promote gender equality through scholarships. However, despite increased numbers of women on culinary campuses, gender inequality persists in the organizations’ faculty, boards, and committees. I find that culinary education programs address gender implicitly by promoting diversity through Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects against discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, age, and national origin. Even though the restaurant industry is diverse in these areas, diversity has failed to create equality for women. Therefore, I argue that gender equality in the restaurant industry would benefit from more explicit measures. Such measures include grounded theory research and systemic approaches modeled after policies of Nordic countries.

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