Travelling for a long term opens you to a lot of new facts that is probably unknown or just ignored in the race of day to day life. The issues being faced by the world come out in open. Factors like global warming, rivers dying and farmer crisis can only be observed when you are left in such a scenario.
During my travels in India, Nepal, Thailand and Bhutan, I have realized that as a responsible traveller, how important it is to support women who are an important part of the country’s economy but their contribution is being ignored due to a reason or other.
As a responsible traveller with a heart, you can support women in a number of ways. I am trying to do that and I hope these tips will help you figure out what else can be done.
Support local homestays
Local homestays are family owned homes that offer stay for the tourists in an authentic way. They are way cheaper than hotels and often provide a way to build relations with locals for a long term. Women are mostly the incharge of the homes and they manage everything. When you stay here, the money you pay directly goes in the hands of the women running the place and they are able to work towards making their and their children’s life better.
Travel with women operated travel companies
While this is a matter of preference and most of the women operated travel companies provide tours to women only, but many others also design custom trips for families. The Wander girls, WOW Club and Jugni are a few that are operating in India. If you are a female then you’ll also find a safe and secure way of travelling with other like-minded travellers.
Shop at women owned businesses
Tourist spots in India and Nepal have a plenty of local shops that are owned or run by women. It is easy to find one at Jaisalmer, Leh, Pondicherry, Kathmandu, and Pokhara. In Bhutan, women owned businesses are visible in a greater number because the country encourages it. By shopping at such places you encourage them to continue working there.
Buy women made handicrafts directly from their workshops
Everyone buys souvenirs and handcrafts while travelling to a new place. In most of the cases, it is the women who work and create these beautiful designs. Even if they are not the one designing it overall, they are still a part of the design process in a way or another. Supporting women made handicrafts and directly buying from their workshops will eliminate the chances of the involvement of the middlemen and they’ll get to enjoy more profit.
Donate at women associations
It is very easy to find a women association in tourist destinations of Nepal and India. These associations work in the favour of women involved in business and encourage others to show involvement to become an active earner at their households. They also regulate the market so that every woman is able to equally and fairly earn. These associations need donations to operate smoothly because they are mostly a non profit organization. Helping them will keep them going and they’ll be able to work in a better way to improve the life of their fellow comrades.
Eat at women owned food joints
It is easy to find women owned restaurants in Leh Ladakh and North Eastern part of India. There are a plenty of such eateries in Goa, Kolkata, and various tourist spots of Nepal and Bhutan. In many cases, windows and single mothers run these places in order to support their families. A local eating joint will get you an authentic taste and will bring you closer to the local life.
Encourage female guides and book tours with the companies that employ them
Female guides and travel representatives are employed in plenty in many South East Asian countries while there are a few ventures in India that employ female guides. Hiring a female guide will help you find a different perspective of the place, at the same time you’ll be encouraging more companies to make women parts of their company in an active role.
Supporting women at tourist destinations helps them in a lot of wonderful ways. You may be ensuring education and upbringing of a child who will grow up to have a better life. Next time when you come across such an establishment in this scenario, make sure that your contribution is noticed.
What are the other ways in which you support women entrepreneurs. Share in comments.