International Women’s Day: Leadership in Tourism

Shelley Bragg
Jul 23, 2023

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a day that we celebrate the incredible work of women across all fields and this year, it was also a day that called for challenge: a challenge of the status quo, a challenge to stand up for a more equal future, a challenge to take action against gender bias and discrimination of any kind. 

This year, IWD was marked by UN Women as the year of Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.

Eliza Raymond, GOOD Travel Co-Founder, shared her thoughts on this year’s IWD theme:

“Across the globe, destinations are rethinking the future of tourism following the impact of Covid-19 on our industry. One area which is beginning to receive more attention is the opportunity for tourism to actively contribute towards the empowerment of women and the achievement of gender equality. I have been fortunate to connect with inspiring women leaders from organisations such as Wanderful, Equality in Tourism and of course my fellow co-founders at GOOD Travel. These organisations are demonstrating that change in the tourism industry needs to happen at a variety of levels if tourism is to achieve its potential for advancing gender equality. Prior to Covid-19, women accounted for 54% of people employed in tourism, yet they were frequently underpaid, underutilized, undereducated, and underrepresented. As we reflect on how to build back a more regenerative and resilient tourism industry, women across the globe have an opportunity to individually and collectively serve as leaders to demand gender equality. So as we reflect on women in leadership, I call on all GOOD travellers to consider what role we can each play in contributing towards the rebuild of a more equitable tourism industry."

As a social enterprise founded by women, and with a team made up of women, we at GOOD Travel are committed to advocating for all women in the tourism industry. We believe the potential for women in this space is great. The research is showing us that the tourism industry presents a lot of opportunity for entrepreneurship, the wage gap is less between men and women than in other industries and there is a higher percentage of women in ministerial seats globally, compared to other industries. 

Understanding Women’s Employment in the Tourism Industry 

In our 2018 blog, we shared some statistics about women’s employment and opportunities in tourism. Some of these numbers have since been updated but it shows us, still, how the majority of jobs in the tourism industry are taken up by women, but these are often the lower level jobs. The latest report from UN Women shows that more women are breaking into previously male dominated roles, such as tour guides, but we need more of this - and we need to ensure that the gender discrimination from employers, co-guides and clients that women in these roles continue to experience ends.There is also a greater need for training and for universal child-care, to support mothers and caregivers.

In 2019, we discussed the positive impact that comes from supporting women in the industry and also shared 10 tips on how to do that, as a traveler. 

This year, we also joined the discussion facilitated by Equality in Tourism discussing #5Questions4Change, where women across the world within the industry spoke about their personal experiences and shared their opinions on what can be done to create positive change for women from all backgrounds.

Looking Ahead

Will we, as travelers, choose to challenge? Our choices have real power when we travel. We can choose which businesses to support, we can choose to ask key questions about the way businesses are run, we can choose which restaurants to go to and which activities to do. We can choose in a way that makes a positive impact on the people, places and communities we visit. 

Let’s choose to make a more equal future, together, through travel.

July 23, 2023
5 min read