With a view to consolidating the existing theory development and stimulating new conceptual thinking, this paper explores the implications of culture, religion (Islam) and the legal framework on women’s employment and their limited advancement in the hospitality industry, one of the important elements of the economy in Jordan. A related aim is to contrast the egalitarian Islamic approach to gender equality with gender discriminatory tribal traditions that restrict women’s employment and progression. Guided by religion, culture and gender literature, this study uses a qualitative, content-based analysis. Drawing on open-ended questionnaires distributed to a diverse workforce across four tourist locations in Jordan, the results portray how tribalism and Bedouin customs embedded in the participants’ interpretation and practices of their religion (along with the existing legal framework) are maintaining gender gaps in employment and positions of power. The results also reveal that despite the Islamic guidelines towards fairness and justice (haqq and adl) in employment, the tribal and Bedouin traditions restrict women’s employment through patriarchal interpretations of Islam. Thus, the salient novelty and significance of this study were achieved through contributing to the theory development of the interrelations between religion, culture and gender equality.