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Submission To Justice Verma Committee On Tourism's Role In The Exploitation Of Women
January 30, 2013

Call for Action
Click here to download 'Submission To Justice Verma Committee On Tourism's Role In The Exploitation Of Women', 66.4kb.The same can be read below too.

Click here to download 'EQUATIONS Comments to the Draft Submission To Justice Verma Committee On Tourism's Role In The Exploitation Of Women-2013-EQUATIONS,62.0Kb.

Submission To Justice Verma Committee On Tourism's Role In The Exploitation Of Women

January 2013

In the wake of recent Delhi gang rape, the Justice Verma Committee was constituted to give recommendations on possible amendments to criminal law with aim to provide for speedy trial and enhanced punishment for accused of sexual assault of extreme nature against women. The committee invited comments from public. EQUATIONS submission contains our concerns related to role of tourism in the sexual exploitation of women. Our covering letter accompanied with the submission to the committee is uploaded here.

Justice Verma
Justice (retd) Leila Seth
Mr Gopal Subramanian

Subject: EQUATIONS submission on tourism’s role in the exploitation of women

Greetings from EQUATIONS!

Equitable Tourism Options (EQUATIONS) is a research, campaign and advocacy organisation. We study the social, cultural, economic and environmental impact of tourism from the perspective of local communities. (www.equitabletourism.org)

Please find attached EQUATIONS submission on concerns we have in relation to tourism’s role in the exploitation of women.

Key concerns we would like to raise are summarised below:

In our quest for tourism that is more equitable, sustainable and just we have had on our radar the impact that current forms of tourism development have on women’s lives.

An argument often presented in support of more tourism development is that it generates employment. However the tourism industry is far from being gender just. In women in the organised sector in tourism are relegated to relatively low skill and low paying or stereotypical jobs. They face very high risks of sexual harassment and exploitation and are discouraged from forming unions or associations to consolidate their strength and influence.

The situation is far worse for women in the informal sector where the needs and rights of women working have not been taken into account. The situation worsens particularly in regard to the safety and security of women when evictions take place, a trend that is increasingly being seen in tourist destinations as a process of 'clearing out the unwanted' and creating a façade of beauty. Inaccessibility to the space make them vulnerable to different forms of exploitations.

On the social and cultural front, tourism also reflects social, economic and political power relations existing in society, therefore, initiatives taken in relation to tourism should take into consideration these realities. Women from Dalit communities constitute large part of cleaning jobs, especially manual scavenging (95%). They face discrimination on both caste and gender grounds and are subjected to multitude of atrocities including rape.

The marketing of tourism is one area which features women prominently. The language of patriarchy, heterosexuality and tourism promotion are inter-linked and primarily addressed to the need of male tourists. Stereotypical and sexist images of women are often part of tourism promotion in brochures and advertisements.

We call upon governments, policy makers, industry, civil society to engage in more systemic ways with the challenge of women’s empowerment in tourism. It is time for the government to recognise tourism as a site for blatant and inhuman exploitation of women in tourism. We urge the committee to incorporate provisions to protect women at tourism destinations and declare that tourism will not be promoted at expense of women's dignity, respect and rights.

We urge the Committee to take cognisance of the fact that tourism can and has been a site of sexual exploitation of women and that any law addressing this will take into account tourism's role and be applicable to tourism destinations as well.

Surabhi Singh
Programme Coordinator

Contact Us:
+91-80-23659711 / 23659722
EQUATIONS, # Flat no - A2, 1st floor, No 21/7, 2nd Cross, 1st A Main Road, Atmananda Colony, Sultan Palya, R T Nagar Post, Bengaluru - 560032, India