Did you know that although women make up over half of the tourism workforce, they are often underpaid and have limited opportunities to move into higher positions in their jobs?
At Planeterra, we work to change that by empowering women to take the lead in the development and growth of tourism experiences. Over the years, we have seen how the work of women has not only had a positive impact on their lives but also on the well-being of their communities. This, as a result, contributes to creating more stable and just societies.
We are proud to have supported inspiring projects that seek to empower women all over the world. One of them is Women With Wheels, in New Delhi, a project that is challenging cultural norms and paving new paths for women across India. Our ground partner, Azad Foundation, works with disadvantaged women from resource-poor urban areas across India to empower them to become professional commercial drivers.
A few weeks ago, we hosted the Women’s Leadership in Tourism webinar. Towards the end, we had the honour to hear Bubblyi, one of the drivers the program has supported, talk about her experience. When she started the training seven years ago, she was scared as she was not aware of the routes in New Delhi. Looking back to her first day, Bubblyi remembers crying when it got dark because she felt she was not going to be able to find the way back home.
Fast forward to today, Bubblyi now drives with confidence, even at night. Travellers have complimented her skills several times as they can see first-hand how challenging it is to drive on India’s chaotic roads. Bubblyi also became a team leader, with responsibility for ten women under her watch and she even drives to other cities (this is a huge deal!).
Bubblyi takes pride in what she does and her ability to financially support herself and her family. Moreover, she has inspired other women from her community to join the training and become drivers as well.
Our wish is to see more projects like this thriving and to have more women taking on leadership roles in their communities. But what do we need? For instance, a change in mindsets and opportunities.
By providing life-changing access to education, job training (both in business acumen and soft skills) and mentorship, Planeterra has been able to provide women with opportunities in the tourism sector. But in addition to that, there are other needs for women-owned businesses to succeed.
Take the example of Princess Sewing Cooperative, a women-run business that focuses on tailoring services in the Victoria Falls township of Mkhosana, Zimbabwe. Planeterra provided extensive business training as well as lobbying for the cooperative to become a laundry supplier for local tour groups visiting the area.
Providing laundry services made it possible for women in the cooperative to increase their income, meaning they could afford school fees for their children, complete their studies and lead an above-average economic life. However, COVID-19 slowed down their business tremendously as there were no travellers in need of their services. In addition to this, they are in need of new equipment including water tank pumps to store water for laundry due to water shortages in the township, and a dryer.
Help women-led businesses like Princess Sewing Cooperative prosper and benefit from tourism again. Consider donating to Planeterra. Your support will allow us to continue empowering women all over the world.
Together, we are building a more sustainable future for women!