Medium 9781786394422

Gender Equality and Tourism: Beyond Empowerment

By: Cole, S.
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Does tourism empower women working in and producing tourism? How are women using the transformations tourism brings to their advantage? How do women, despite prejudice and stereotypes, break free, resist and renegotiate gender norms at the personal and societal levels? When does tourism increase women's autonomy, agency and authority? The first of its kind this book delivers: A critical approach to gender and tourism development from different stakeholder perspectives, from INGOs, national governments, and managers as well as workers in a variety of fields producing tourism. Stories of individual women working across the world in many aspects of tourism. A foreword by Margaret Bryne Swain and contributions from academics and practitions from across the globe. A lively and accessible style of writing that links academic debates with lived realities while offering hope and practical suggestions for improving gender equality in tourism. Gender Equality and Tourism: Beyond Empowerment, a critical gendered analysis that questions the extent to which tourism brings women empowerment, is an engaging and thought-provoking read for students, researchers and practitioners in the areas of tourism, gender studies, development and anthropology.

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1 Introduction: Gender Equality and Tourism – Beyond Empowerment

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1 Introduction: Gender Equality

and Tourism – Beyond Empowerment

Stroma Cole*

University of the West of England, Bristol, UK

The Origins of This Book

The ideas fuelling the creation of this book arose from submissions to a conference organized by Equality in Tourism (http:// equalityintourism.org), an organization dedicated to ensuring women always have a voice in global tourism, and Yeşil Valiz

(http://yesilvaliz.org), which was to be held in Turkey in 2016. Sadly, the conference had to be abandoned due to the violent political events that took place at the time – reminding us just how fickle the tourism endeavour is! However, from the ashes, the abstracts, together with an engagement with some of our associates at Equality in Tourism, became discussions, and the book was born.

Drawing on the theme of gender equality in tourism, this book aims to identify the main obstacles to women’s advancement in the tourism industry, and to discover and share successful strategies to overcome them, drawing on case studies from all over the world. All the authors contributing to this book are proudly feminist and, with the exception of Chapter 3, have used qualitative methods to give depth and feeling to the women’s stories they present. All of us have used positionality and reflexivity to reflect our engagement with subjectivity. Many of

 

Giota’s Story: Behind the Mountains

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Giota’s Story

Giota’s Story: Behind the Mountains

Panagiota Stefanopoulou

My name is Panagiota Stefanopoulou and I am 41 years old. I was born in Dortmund, Germany, to Greek parents, and went to Greece with my mother and two sisters when I was 6 months old. My father, who was a miner, stayed behind to work in Germany. After studying tourism management in Larisa, I worked in the hospitality industry up until 2004. It was then that I visited Zagori, Epirus, with a friend with the initial intention of creating a workshop using traditional looms. Zagori does not have many permanent inhabitants, schools, hospitals or bakeries, and is mainly a winter tourism destination with limited livestock farming. I worked in the booming tourism industry there for a few years. Tourism work is highly seasonal in Zagori and so in some months everyone seems to want you to work for them but in other months no one wants to give you any work.

Whilst working, I also learnt how to process sheep’s wool, dye it with natural, homemade dyes, weave it on traditional looms, knit and felt. In 2009

 

Nukul’s Story

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Nukul’s Story

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Nukul’s Story

Nukul Jorlopo

Fig. S2.  Nukul with buffalo.

This country does not always feel like my home. My home is the jungle.

I, Nukul Jorlopo, am from the Karen hilltribe of Thailand. Though my ancestors settled here long before the Thai people, my tribe are treated like outsiders and made to feel like they do not belong. When

I speak Thai, they know I am from the hilltribe because I do not speak right. I feel I am lower than Thai people, especially Thai men. We are farmers and perceived as poor, uneducated and dirty by the dominant culture in Thailand. So most Karen women stay in their village where life makes sense and where they are not subjected to racism and discrimination. But while the work of a farmer takes care of the family’s land, it does not earn any income. So many Karen people venture to the city to find work. I was scared to go to the city. I’m scared of being lied to, taken advantage of or trafficked.

Four years ago an American social business entrepreneur, Alexa Pham, opened the Chai Lai Orchid, an ecolodge and empowerment programme for women at risk of human trafficking. In Thailand, the most at risk are women of ethnic minorities, like me. I became pregnant with my son when I was at university and had to stop my studies. I was struggling alone to support my son and help my parents. I had little hope. Two years ago, I joined the Chai Lai Orchid family women’s programme at Chai Lai Orchid, called

 

Neusa’s Story

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Neusa’s Story

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Neusa’s Story

Neusa Gonçalves

My name is Neusa Gonçalves; I’m 43 years old, from Sal

Island, Cape Verde.

I worked as a tour guide from 1997 until the year 2000, when there was still only one travel agency in the town of

Santa Maria. In April 2000 I travelled to the Azores with 22 other young people working on a passenger ship travelling between the islands. After 6 months, I moved to the island of

Madeira, playing soccer for the Madeira National team until

2005 when I returned to Cape Verde.

I tried to start a mini market but went bankrupt at the time of the global economic crisis. In 2012 I returned to tour guide work as a freelancer. In 2013 I started up on my own, selling island excursions. I registered my company, Kryol

Operator, in 2014 and got my professional driving licence a year later. Now I have three salespeople working for me. At

KRYOL OPERATOR the beginning, as a business led by women, there was a

 

Perrine’s Story: Social Entrepreneurship

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Perrine’s Story

Perrine’s Story: Social Entrepreneurship in

Vienna (Austria)

Perrine Schober

Fig. S4.  Perrine with students on a tour.

I often wonder if my passion for tourism derives from my character or from my experiences growing up.

My mother is French, my father is Austrian and they met in Canada. So I grew up hearing, understanding and speaking three different languages. My mother worked for an international organization, which meant that when she organized dinner parties, the room was filled with different skin colours, languages, accents and traditional clothes. To be surrounded by different nationalities and cultures was an utterly normal thing for me. I guess that this international environment nurtured my curiosity for foreign countries and their diverse traditions. At the age of 15 I absolutely wanted to speak Spanish enabling me to interact with an even larger community.

I started working in the tourism industry at 18. After graduating from high school, I spent my summer working for an international language school in Spain. I guess this was when my character evolved, and

 

María’s Story: Between My Home and My Job

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María’s story

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María’s Story: Between My Home and My Job

María Isabel

Fig. S5.  María Isabel.

My name is María Isabel, I’m 39 years old. I live in Puná, an island in the Gulf of Guayaquil, Ecuador. I’ve been working in tourism for 14 years now. When I first got married I hadn’t finished school, and my husband was very traditional. He didn’t think I needed to study anymore, or to have any business outside of the home. He’s a fisherman, but he also did the occasional tour when the odd visitor came. I started going with him on these tours. At the beginning I was very quiet with the visitors. I was there just to keep my husband company while he showed people around. But I began to get interested in tourism. I realized tourism had a lot of potential in my community and that I wanted to get involved.

I asked my husband to let me finish school and, after a long struggle he accepted, as long as I found somebody to take care of our little girls. I also attended every single training course in tourism – the Tourism

 

Thinlas’ Story

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Thinlas’ Story

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Thinlas’ Story

Thinlas Chorol

Fig. S6.  Thinlas.

Thinlas had to break several barriers when she decided to become a mountaineering guide in Ladakh, a place whose rugged terrain demands extreme physical endurance for trekking. This is her story.

My Journey

I was born in 1981 in Takmachik, a remote village in western Ladakh. My mother died when I was just a baby. I used to go up the mountain with my father and his herds of goats and sheep. This is how my love for mountains grew up in me.

It was while at college that I began trekking with foreign volunteers when a woman told me she wanted a female guide after unwanted sexual advances from her male guide. I felt it was natural for me to walk in the mountains so went with her. I was then mistaken for a foreigner during this trip. Locals assumed I was a tourist and were trying to talk to me in English as they could not, in their wildest imagination, guess that a Ladakhi woman could be a trekking guide. But the trip was a great experience and

 

Priscilla’s Story: From Waitress to Manager

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Priscilla’s Story

Priscilla’s Story: From Waitress to Manager

Priscilla Alexander Shirima

I was born in Ngaseni Village, Tanzania, as the fifth child of Mr and Mrs Alexander Msale in

1976. My parents took good care of me until

1986, when they registered me in primary school.

I studied while at the same time assisting my mother in daily home activities. I went to secondary school in Moshi and completed my level four in 1997. In the following November, my cousin,

Thomas, who was doing a consultancy at the

Leopard hotel, advised me to apply for a position as a waitress. This was hard because at that time

I had no idea about waitressing. I thank my mother who encouraged me, she told me that nothing is impossible, just to work hard, cooperate with other waitresses and always be honest. Following the interview I was happy to be among the 16 selected applicants. So my mother allowed me to move from our village to town to start my job.

 

Marta’s Story: For My Son and My Island

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Ica’s Story

Marta’s Story: For My Son and My Island

Marta Muslin

My name is Marta Muslin, I am 36 years old and a single parent of one 10-year-old son. I am from

Manggarai, West Flores, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. I work as a community project manager and operations manager in a diving company in

Labuan Bajo. Besides working in the company,

I am also a chairman of Dive Operator Community

Komodo, a legal committee of the Association of Indonesia Tour and Travel Agencies (ASITA)

Manggarai Raya, an active member of the Association of Komodo Dive Guides, a coordinator of Flores Homestay Network, a coordinator of

Indonesia Waste Platform and a mum.

People may ask how I manage my time, raising my child and supporting the whole family at the same time. Well, I have only been doing all these activities for 3 years now, but so far I am enjoying being busy, taking good care of my

­island, building the capacity of my people, and at the same time learning a lot of things from so many people I am working with.

 

Leila’s Story: A Moroccan Guide

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Leila’s story

Leila’s Story: A Moroccan Guide

Leila Lamara

Fig. S9.  Leila Lamara.

My name is Leila Lamara and I’m 55 years old. I’m a mother of a 19-year-old daughter, whom I raised alone. I was born in the city of Fes, the oldest capital for the Moroccan nation. I’m the oldest of six brothers and sisters, born and raised in a very traditional conservative middle class family, in a multicultural, multireligious community. Jews and Christians were our neighbours; they were all Moroccan, the only difference was the kids were going to French mission school, and we were going to the Moroccan ones.

My first contact with tourism started when I was studying in high school. The school was close to the famous gate of the old city of Fes. Every morning while I was getting off the bus, I saw tourists groups standing by the gate in a circle listening to the guides, and taking pictures. I was attracted by those people from different nationalities, and amazed by those tour guides in their beautiful elegant local dresses. Most of the time I couldn’t go home for lunch, we only had 2 h break and home was 1 h drive. That was, in fact, my favourite break – I could follow the tours, sometimes I offered to show the sites to some tourists. Then,

 

Sari’s Story: Labuan Bajo’s First Female

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Sari’s Story

Sari’s Story: Labuan Bajo’s First Female

Dive Guide

Sari Sehang

The youngest of four children from a remote village on the island of Rinca, Indonesia, I always thought I would be a police officer. During middle school, I saw how tourism was growing in the nearest town and around my island and decided to study tourism and travel at vocational high school. During my 3-month work experience at

Wicked Dive, I went out on the dive boats to practise my English. When I saw how excited the guests were when they saw manta rays and turtles

I wanted to try diving. A British female dive guide encouraged me to try it out, and I loved it! There was a lot to learn and many challenges to overcome. My father did not agree at all; he was scared about aggressive sharks, he thought it was a heavy job, not suited to women. When I told him there were plenty of foreign female dive guides, he said they were different, different culture, stronger, braver, but I remained determined.

 

Arzu’s Story: Rural Tourism

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Arzu’s Story

Arzu’s Story: Rural Tourism – a Necessity for

Women’s Empowerment in Turkey

Arzu Kutucu Ozenen

Fig. S11.  Arzu and Misi women.

I, Arzu Kutucu Ozenen, am the founder and chairperson of Yesil Valiz Association for Responsible Tourism, an association promoting responsible tourism in Turkey. A graduate of Ankara University, I received a BA in law. Having been interested in community development since my university years, I have participated in several civil society activities. With the dream of a better future for all, I focused on educational opportunities for disadvantaged groups. Rural young women, who were far more disadvantaged than any other group in Turkey, became the top priority in my work. Seeing the growing interest in rural tourism as a window of opportunity for women, I worked with several municipalities and village women’s associations in areas of skills development, entrepreneurship, local value chains and informed political participation, which will enable women to ask for more.

 

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