Job segmentation by gender
In the food and beverage sector, employment conditions are generally y precarious for all workers. However, there are specific segmentation patterns by which women and people discriminated by race work in the kitchen, preparing food and washing dishes. In turn, these hierarchies produce differences not only in working conditions and wages but also in social benefits, training and progress opportunities. Jobs are not assigned by skill and experience but by racial, gender, and migratory status differences.
Restaurants often do not solely offer food, but rather are positioned as an experience that includes entertainment to customers. The power dynamics present in restaurants between workers and consumers and between workers and bosses, coupled with the naturalisation of catering as a sexualised space, can intensify sexual harassment. Sometimes waitresses are forced to supplement low wages with tips, and they feel pressured to tolerate lewd comments and inappropriate behaviour as part of their job, at the risk of not receiving the same tips.
Feminisation and occupational health
The reasons why occupational safety and health concern in the tourism industry are inadequate are the structure and business size, usually small family-run businesses with patriarchal pillars; an underestimated investment in prevention as most accidents at work are minor; the lack of responsibility towards employees due to outsourcing processes; and also the seasonality and job instability in the tourism sector. The feminisation of family businesses like restaurants can increase women’s workloads caused by men not assuming family responsibilities on the same conditions. Moreover, restaurant staff suffers from different occupational health risks. While chefs manifest health problems caused by the use of toxic products and the continued exposure to fumes, waitresses experience prolonged standing, physical strain, fast movement, or lack of resting time during work hours.