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- Key Interventions
Here you can find the Key Interventions (Campaigns, Events and Other Interventions) related to this Thematic Area. These can be sorted year wise. On clicking a Title, you can read online and download the respective Key Intervention.
"Here you can find Resources (Papers, Publications and Presentations) linked to this Thematic Area. These can be sorted year wise. On clicking a Title, you can read online and download the respective Resource. Please do acknowledge EQUATIONS when quoting from or using these resources in any manner.
The tourism industry positions itself as a major employer of women globally and an industry that is women friendly – opening doors for women – as the UNWTO proudly claims! However research and the stories of women engaged in tourism around the world has shown repeatedly that it is an industry that is far from being gender just. EQUATIONS work in this area examines the realities of tourism from the lens of women – particularly its most exploitative impact – the proliferation of sex tourism. We also examine ways in which women can have greater access, control and ownership over livelihoods and natural resources as well as access to the benefits in the context of tourism. We endeavour to influence policy makers for gender-sensitive models and policies for tourism. Through networking with government, tourism promoters and industry, CSOs & media, monitoring impacts and research on tourism we aim to highlight these links. EQUATIONS works to ensure that the aspect of gender receives attention in all our research studies and interventions.
Our initial work on women and tourism was on the issue of sex tourism, as in the mid 80’s this was one of the most serious critiques of tourism emerging from developing countries. Some years later the programme widened its scope to examine what has happened to women in tourist areas and to articulate the complexity of tourism from the lens of women. In 1994 our publication Women and Tourism, Invisible Hosts, Invisible Guests- Suggested Guidelines for Assessment of the Impacts of Tourism on Women by Mary Filmore served as a framework and monitoring tool on women and tourism issues. This along with a theme paper and annotated bibliography by Mary Filmore broadened our framework beyond prostitution into employment, status of women etc.
At the historic World Women’s Conference at Beijing in September 1995, Nina Rao (on behalf of EQUATIONS) led a workshop on ‘International Tourism’ at the NGO forum on Women. Following that an important workshop in collaboration with Institute of Management in Governance in Kerala widened the debate on of tourism development and its effects on women - in relation to change in land use pattern, changes in job opportunities, pressure on women when natural resources like water and common property resources were privatised by tourism. In the years that followed, the misrepresentation of women in tourism, fighting against sex-tourism, creating employment opportunities for women, women’s role and involvement in decision making in tourism became areas for exploration and campaigning.
In 1997 Nina Rao initiated a study on gender issues at the workplace - a survey of organised workplaces linked to the tourism industry- airlines, travel agents, hotels. In 1998, a workshop on Women and Tourism in Salem, Tamil Nadu on World tourism Day, organised jointly with Tamil Nadu Environmental Council and other partners drew enthusiastic participation. A workshop for elected women members of Panchayats on Women and Tourism in collaboration with Institute for Management in Government, Trivandrum was another important milestone.
Networking efforts continued, with the publication and dissemination of the Dossier on Women and Tourism. Studies and action research in collaboration with other women’s/ grassroots based organisation spanned different states and issues.
- Sex tourism at Raxaul (on the India (Bihar) Nepal border) - in collaboration with Bhorukha Public Welfare Trust (Calcutta), linked the contribution of cross-border tourism to the flourishing flesh trade in Raxaul.
- ‘Employment opportunity for Women in Tourism Industry’ in Goa - a pilot study in collaboration with Bailancho Saad, a women’s collective.
- Case studies to explore the ‘Nexus between Domestic tourism and Prostitution’ in and around Mammallapuram, with assistance from Indian Council for Child Welfare, Chennai.
- A case study on ‘Women’s Participation in Tourism Development’ in Kumarakom, Kerala in collaboration with women members from the nature club (Kumarakom) and KSSP (Kottayam).
EQUATIONS dossier “Continuing Saga of Marginalisation – Women & Tourism Issues” (2001) was a good source of reference material on the issue. EQUATIONS links with statutory bodies such as national and state commissions for women was another important and useful development. We were invited to be part of the National Commission for Women team to conduct a first- hand enquiry on Sex Tourism in Mahabalipuram in 2002.
In 2007, the UNWTO’s theme for the World Tourism Day was “Tourism Opens Doors for Women.” This was an opportunity to take the debate further on whether women really benefit from tourism, as well as to confront the rhetoric and propaganda of the UNWTO. A fortuitous invitation from the UNWTO to participate in a high level think tank of about 20 people from around the world helped us in this task. We influenced the UNWTO to include aspects of exploitation of women in its statement on ethics, to substantiate its generalised statements through research, to bring out a status report on the status of women in tourism and to ensure that women from all sections (particularly informal sector) had a role in influencing tourism policy and practise. Two round tables on the theme in Goa and Kerala received media attention. In Kerala the government announced its policy of ensuring that women are not commoditised in the advertisements for tourism.
In policy spaces we have critiqued the XI Five Year Plan’s Working Group on Tourism’s report and through our engagement with the members of the Feminist Economist panel we have lobbied for the inclusion of perspective of women’s needs and aspirations in the context of tourism. More recently, our research on Free Trade Agreements and tourism has focussed significantly on the gender aspect.
Click on the ‘Resources’ tab above to read Women and Tourism Programme related papers, publications and presentations.
Click on the ‘Key Interventions’ tab above to know about Women and Tourism Programme related campaigns, events and interventions.