Investing in local travel benefits women all over the world – and helps to push us towards a more regenerative future.
According to reports, over 50% of the travel and tourism industry is made up of women. However, as great as this sounds for equality in the workplace, the vast majority of women in tourism take on roles at the lowest paid and least secure end of the spectrum.
In one 2018 Italian report, it emerged that while 84% of hospitality cleaning staff were female, women accounted for just 14% of managers (and a measly 4% of sales managers). Individual statistics differ across countries and organisations, but what is clear is that this trend is consistent around the world.
In terms of their role in travel, women are usually involved more directly with customers. Before you travel, they fill the majority of customer service and support roles in travel companies. Once in your destination, women overwhelmingly provide your hotel room service, they staff the supermarkets in tourist areas and clean the restaurant floors. They also run local businesses: they are local craftspeople, they are the cooks at family run restaurants and they run local tour companies.
For many women living in areas that depend on tourism, working as tour guides or leaders provides an opportunity to earn a good living where opportunities for women may be limited.
Because of the hands-on role that women play when we travel, you can make a huge difference to their lives when you plan your next trip. If you chose to invest your money locally – to visit local establishments, work with local tour companies and stay in family owned accommodation, you ensure that more of your money ends up in the hands of local people.
Since many more women own businesses at this end of the industry, you’re so much more likely to be directing your money towards women when you travel this way. Especially within sustainable tourism, there are a huge number of female owned businesses making waves – your chances to invest in these businesses are greater than ever before!
When we visit chain hotels or restaurants, those who benefit the most from your investment are, statistically, much less likely to be female. A large number of the women in this eco-system are manual workers, often poorly paid and hidden behind the scenes. These women might be employed, but their treatment often leaves a lot to be desired.
Sustainability is a complex issue which takes in many factors, but most experts agree that supporting women to become leaders in their own right is a vital part of the change worldwide. A world with more female input (especially from women of colour) is a world with more valuable perspectives which can inform business and policy decisions.
As everyone knows, aside from being an end in itself, diversity helps push us forwards. Investing in female leaders gives us a greater chance of creating a system which works for the planet and all its inhabitants.
Next time you travel, think about where your money goes. It’s an easy change with big consequences. Do you want to continue as before? Or do you want to be part of the move towards a fairer, wiser future?
Report source: https://www.g-r-t.org/en/gender-issues/data/516-latest-data-compared