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Tourism has traditional been thought be travel from one place to another for purposes of relaxation and enjoyment. There is more to tourism that this definition can capture. The World Tourism Organization seem to have given a conclusive definition when define it as travelling to a new destination outside ones usual environment fro more than 24 hours and less than a year for the purposes of business, leisure or an other activity that can be found within the areas visited. Tourism has become of the major economic earners globally and source of foreign exchange to many nations. The question of the participation of various genders in the tourism activity has been a subject of great discussion since the contribution men and women to the tourism industry is varied and influenced by various factors ranging from cultural factor, economic factors and ethnicity. This paper will the role played by women as producers of tourism and how the various factor the affect their participation influence their contribution.
Gender is a set of characteristic and roles that seek to distinguish between males and female in the society. Traditionally, certain perspectives and roles have been prescribed for men while others were prescribing for women. The perspectives of gender have influence how men and women participate in various activities including tourism. Certainly, men have dominated the tourism industry and all other industries world wide due to their outgoing nature that. However, the number of women involved in tourism at local and global levels, has increased considerably. Women are joining the tourism industry a commendable producers of tourism providing tourism products to numbers of tourists visiting different tourism destinations. For instance, in Spain women dominate the “Wine Tourism Industry.” Spain is one of the oldest large producers of wine in the world producing reputable win that is marketed to various destinations worldwide. The ability to produce great wine has been turned into a tourism attraction curtsey of the efforts of the Spanish women. According to Robin (2008), women in Spain have cleared the way for great bargains in the tourisms industry employing 13century method of managing vineyards and bottling wine among other strategies that have seen them influence and boost the wine tourism industry in the country.
Dallen, Sönmez, & Apostolopoulos (2001) observed that women had become a force to recon as the question of tourism production and consumption is concerned. The noted that women in major tourism production or destination center such as Southeast Asia, the Caribbean which are mature tourism destination ware much developed that those of women in less developed tourism detonations such as Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. The development of tourism in both all these detonations also had a great bearing on further development in terms of policy and gender. In the regard, Dallen, Sönmez, & Apostolopoulos (2001) meant that their would be positive changes that would encouraged more women to participate in tourism. Theses development is a clear indication that the contribution of both genders to the tourism industry. Theoretical perspective on the issues of feminism or gender perspectives in tourism have been keen to disembody feminism and gender from the study of tourism.
According to Aitchison (2008) there is need to pause rethink about the direction the development of these theories is taking. The theories in question here are the epistemological approaches that have been advanced as far as the study of feminism and tourism are concerned. These approaches include the post cultural feminism, the feminist empiricism and the standpoint feminism which and how they are applicable in the contemporary circumstances. Evidently, each of these approaches has served in enhancing the understanding of the relationship that exists between gender and tourism and at the same time distracting the concept of gender and tourism as a field of study within tourism studies. The suggestion by Aitchison (2008) general suggest separation of feminism and gender tourism studies which are not full developed and can not stand on their own. Equally adoption of post cultural theories will encouraged exclusion of the social-cultural nexus of tourism and gender despite social and cultural phenomenon being necessary in the understanding of tourism and gender.
Clearly tourism can be perceived as a gendered activity where by women perform different role from men to promote the tourism activities. Women provide different tourism commodities to as men do. Gender perceptions differ from culture to culture. This makes the products that tourists from a one culture may find in another culture. Also, in most case the hosts and the tourists may perceive each other with stereotypes. However women have provided numerous tourism products including those that were traditionally provided the men. These include construction, transport, music and dancing, artifacts, crafts, tour guiding and others. All the activities performed by women in tourism destination are greatly influenced by division of labor
Women working in the tourism industry still have the serve their traditional role of domestic unpaid work just like women in other industries (Mooney & Ryan, 2009). The domestic work or chores performed by women are a responsibility prescribed by the society’s definition of gender and gender roles. For instance in many traditional societies, child bearing and rearing are tasks meant for women. Men will rarely participate in the upbringing of the children since it is a feminine role. On their part, are sole bread winner and will get jobs outside the home to earn money for their families’ economic well being. This has tended to limit the contribution of women to production of product geared for the tourism industry. Despite such limitation a good number of women have managed to contribute to this industry through domestic cottage industries, basketry, weaving and pottery creating different attractive attracts and curios for the tourism market. Cornelius & Skinner (2008) observed that both women and men have different aspiration and motivations to the type of responsibilities they take. As such women could be motivated to take part in the production of various tourism activities due to the benefits this activates bring about.
Ethic of tourism
Ethics of tourism is a set of standard ethics acceptable globally as ethic providing a guidance of how various players are supposed to conduct themselves while going about the tourism activities. The Ethics of tourism could be instrumental in ensuring that women participate in production of tourism commodities without being disadvantaged or exploited. Employers and other service providers could early prey on women given their demeaned status in the society thus undermining on the contribution to the gross tourism products tourism practices such as sex tourism have encouraged exploitation of women by business people and tourist alike. Women have bee trafficked from different places for the purposes of prostitution and sex tourism (Feminism and Women Studies, 2010). The practice of sex tourism on the other had has been sited as being an agent of the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDS. Tourism need to be guided by a body of ethics that ensures order and morality are upheld. The dignity of both men and women should be upheld by all tourism activities in the same manner all the cultures found in the tourism destination should be respected. Women can produce quite arrange of tourism products but in the light of stereotypes and sex driven industry, the ability of women providing valuable commodities other than sex becomes extremely limited and unappreciated denying the industry the revenue that could be realized from this activities. According to Morais, Yarnal, Dong,& Dowler, (2005) the ethic of tourism greatly influences the gender role and thus influencing the commodities provided by both genders. Since the codes prohibit derogatory behaviors such as sexism it has considerable influenced the way women are perceived and improved their contribution to the gross tourism production.
Tourism can be a good vehicle for deriving poverty away and certainly involving could even make these object far much easier. The secret to the achievement of such a goal is empowering women to participate in tourism in the same way their male counterparts do. Empowerment of women includes giving women financial capability, technical know how and ability to develop tourism oriented enterprises and managing the. The empowerment of woman in many countries, more so in developing countries has been impaired by many occurrences especially those instigated by parties interested in individual benefits such as politicians (Toolkit for Women, 2002). According to Equations (2007) women empowerment would considerable improve the women ability to take jobs in the tourism industry and thus minimize the exploitation of women that takes place in the industry. The benefits realized from the tourism industry and the contribution made by women increases remarkably with the level of empowerment. Gender bias in the tourism industry is similar to that experienced in other sectors. There seem to be a large number of men at the helm running the show while are relegated to other simpler or minor jobs. The employment of women seams to take a pyramid like appearance with much of the population concentrating at the bottom and only a little at the top while the employment of men take an inverted pyramid structure with the largest concentration at the top.
From the perspective of feminism tourism in developing countries seen to exploit the fact that women will accept little pay fro a lot of money. In deed no place other has experienced exploitation of women in this industry. Tourism ethic general ensure that players in the tourism industry redeem grater benefits without exploitation of the less dominant actors
Ethnicity and Culture
Ethnicity and culture also play a role in influencing feminism and gender in tourism. Some cultures strictly stipulate what roles are supposed to be performed by gender. Such cultural factors may limit the participation of women in the tourism industry by placing restriction on the extent of involvement or totally prohibiting them. This could be the reason why the involvement of women in tourism in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East is low compared to other areas of the world. For instance, Sherpa (Nepal), the president of Federation of Woman Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal, notes that women in Nepal, where mountain tourism is popular if face numerous inhibition in their attempt to participate and benefit from tourism. He notes that women encounter underrepresentation in politics, caste systems bias, gender and social segregation that further aggravate their already deplorable situation. This situation is replicated in many other nations around the world.
Ethnicity and culture together played a role in the process of engendering tourism. Since the gender role in the society stipulate and limit what men can do and what women can do, it is worthwhile noting that these influence on the gender roles spilled over to influence the way women participate in other non traditional activities such as formal employment, business and tourism. A few women have been able to overcome the ceiling set by culture to take up managerial roles or participate actively in the provision of tourism products. The concentration of women in lower paying jobs in the tourism industry is brought about by cultural beliefs that discourage women from seeking greater achievement or competing with men for the available opportunities.
Despite all these limitations ethnicity and culture also places women in a position to provide specific tourisms activities that are unique to women. For instance, female dancer will provide a different kind of attraction to that man won’t be able to provide. In this regard women are able to produce a unique commodity for the tourism market.
Ethnicity further leads to diversification of the tourism commodity that women can provided to the tourism market by virtue of their culture. Different ethnic communities have different cultural practices. These cultural practices prescribe gender roles different from one society to another thus making each society or ethnic group uniquely distinct. As a result of these differences women from different ethnic group provide varied cultural tourism goods. Unfortunately, some culture or ethnicities may be neglected and their tourism product left underdeveloped due to various factors such as politics and caste systems as it is in the case of Nepal (Sherpa, 2009). In most cases groups that are political dominant of famous may have their tourism products developed at the expense of groups whose political influence is limited. Women in the segregated music in this regard are unable
The contribution of women to tourism products can not be overemphasized. Women’s contribution the tourism industry is sometime greater than the contribution made by men. In any nation developed and developed women have started actively participating provision of tourism commodity and even emerge dominant is it is in the case of Wine tourism in Spain. Women in Spain have managed to create themselves a reputation as the leading tourism commodity providers in the Spanish wine tourism market. This successful participating of women in tourism has also been replicated in numerous other areas world wide. Contrary to this women in other part of the world especially in the third world countries have tried to replicate the success with little positive outcome. In most cases these women have been face by numerous inhibitions ranging from cultural inhibitions, political inhibition and limited capacity to participate or invest in the tourism industry. These inhibitions however, have not deterred women from participating in the provision of tourism commodity. Most women have been able to make a contribution individual of through community based organization or women groups. The engendering of tourism feminization of tourism could be perceived as a product of the separation of genders roles. Conversely various contemporary theoretical approaches employed to describe gender and tourism have ha d little to show in terms of a concrete link between the gender and tourism and the tourism studied, in fact the theories have been seen as being retrogressive to the little understanding that had been developed due to an attempt to separate gender and tourism from tourism studies. Last, the ability of tourism to help reduce poverty is undisputable yet this potential has not been harnessed to reduce poverty among women who are the most struck by is adverse effects. For, instance there are very little efforts to help women in Nepal to achieve improved living conditions though working (Sherpa, 2009). The main ingredient for success in using tourism to fight poverty is to empower women to take up managerial roles in the tourism a sector as well as become entrepreneurs.