Inequality for Women
Women play an important role in society and account for half of the world’s population yet they continue to have lower earnings, less access to education and funding. They also face many barriers to employment. Women are also less likely to have opportunities to advance to higher positions within companies, limiting their income.
Not only has the tourism industry been hard hit by the pandemic locally and internationally, but women-owned businesses have been disproportionately affected in comparison to male-owned businesses, especially in the most delicate parts of the world.
Imagine your daughters or granddaughters being denied the chance to go to school just because they are girls. Think about your daughter going to the bank for a loan and being turned down because they are saving the money for a man. What would your own life be like if you hadn't had the chance to learn to read, do math or attend school?
Supporting Women in Tourism
Tourism is a valuable way for women all over the world to make a living, with or without formal education. Providing dignified jobs and business opportunities to women means better education for children and communities rising out of poverty. As women gain education, find their confidence and become earners in their families, the ripple effect spreads throughout the community. This makes a positive impact for generations to come.
In many countries, women and girls are denied access to jobs, education and opportunities. Boys are sent to school while girls are kept at home to help mom cook, clean and take care of their siblings. It seems unimaginable when you live in North America, but it is far too commonplace throughout Africa, India, Asia, Central & South America. If a woman is able to find dignified work or start her own business, the extra income in the family can mean the ability for that family to pay for their daughters’ education. It means more children continuing on to university, both young men and women.
Women-owned businesses, Female Guides & Social Enterprises
Over the years, I’ve visited many women’s projects, women-owned businesses and had the pleasure of travelling with female guides around the world. Often, these have been the most meaningful and impactful experiences of each trip.
In Delhi, India I had three phenomenal, female guides who taught me about:
- the oppression of women in their culture
- the pressure from their family to stay at home rather than working
- the safety risks of working as a female in tourism
- their passionate beliefs in changing the way women are valued in society
In Peru, I have visited the Ccaccoccollo Women’s Weaving Co-operative three times. The cooperative was started, in partnership with the Planeterra Foundation, to give women in this struggling community a way to preserve their cultural heritage as well as employment and income opportunities. In turn, they’ve been able to improve their community and earn their own income from selling handmade goods to tourists. They've also been able to educate their children locally rather than them having to go long distances to Cusco.
In Nepal, I spent time at a powerful women’s project called Seven Women Nepal. I thoroughly enjoyed cooking and eating with women from the community. The organization offers skills training such as sewing, literacy programs and income generation opportunities to marginalized women. These skills help the women to become independent and self-sufficient so they can support themselves and their children. These women have been through a variety of very difficult life circumstances. Some have disabilities, some have been forced into the sex trade and others have been ‘disowned’ by their husbands. Helping these women earn a living and regain confidence in themselves is very powerful.
In rural Kenya, I visited the Kisaruni Girls Secondary School during their extracurricular activity time. I had a tour of the school done by their Journalism Club. I sat with four eager young women who had left their homes and families at 12 – 15 years old to board at the school full time in order to receive a better education. Never in my life have I met girls with such big dreams, passions and goals.
Michelle aims to be an astronomer. Evelyn wants to be a journalist. Chela has her mindset on being a software engineer and Angela dreams of becoming a neuro-surgeon.
If you’d like to give a woman in tourism a hand-up instead of a hand-out, seek out companies who educate, empower and employ women. Look for social enterprises, businesses and local accommodations owned and operated by women. When you are shopping for handmade crafts or are visiting local markets, look for women-operated booths and women at work producing their handicrafts. Buy directly from them. If you speak the same language, take a moment to ask them about their business, their art and their community. The souvenirs you bring home will have so much more meaning if you know the stories behind them.
We'd love to hear about your experiences with women in tourism. Tell us about some of your experiences from your travels in the comments.
How Love the Way You Travel can help
If all of this sounds wonderful and you want to do your part, but you just can’t fathom where to start, we’re here to help. We can work with you to find the perfect women-only small group tour to somewhere like Morocco, Jordan, Iran, Peru or India. Or, if we’re arranging a customized itinerary for you ask about having a female guide or to include women-owned businesses in your itinerary.
We are proud to support other women in business and believe standing up for gender equity is part of being a responsible traveller. We are passionate about the power of tourism to have a positive impact on the people, the places and our planet, now and in the future.
As a 100% woman-owned business in Nova Scotia, we appreciate your support, loyalty and encouragement to pursue our own dreams of exploring the world responsibly and educating clients to do the same.
If you’re ready to get started planning your next authentic adventure, we’d love to hear what you have in mind, or help you discover all of the amazing adventures that await! Please get started by booking a no-obligation consultation to learn more about how we work, what we can do for you and so we can learn what you LOVE about travel.