Ever since 1975, International Women’s Day — a day to celebrate the achievements of women around the world — has come with an accompanying theme. On Saturday, March 8, the world will look to commemorate this year’s theme of “inspiring change” and challenge the status quo for the betterment of female equality.
In the world of travel, change is underway, with the global travel market made up by 64 per cent of women, according to 2013 data from Intrepid Travel. Women are also a driving force when it comes to business travel, with half of female business travellers holding 85 per cent of the purchasing power, according to CNN. It’s also estimated that 80 per cent of all business travel decisions are made by women. Solo female travel has also changed. In a poll of travel agents, an estimated 59 per cent saw an increase in female travel clients travelling by themselves now compared to 10 years ago. [via Huffington Post]
And yet, despite the evolution of the female traveler, there are still barriers. Instances of blatant of sexism directed not only to women who travel, but work in the travel, tourism and aviation industry is still very much alive. The threat of sexual violence and abuse is still prevalent in certain countries that even governments continue to encourage women to ware fake wedding rings to discourage unwanted attention.It’s clear there’s still work to be done, but the signs are positive. Inspiration and change in the realm of travel won’t come by staying home.
“Travel is more than the seeing of sights. It is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” -Miriam Beard
Although I’ve never witnessed a celebration for this day in the states, most other cultures and countries dedicate this international holiday to festivities, dancing, and celebrations in honor of women. Here in Equatorial Guinea, women adorned dresses made of a typical African fabric and took the day off of work. Stores were closed and the streets were open for many festivities, filled with most of the city’s population. As an equal rights’ believer, feminist, and human rights’ advocate, I fully appreciate this day’s celebration, but at the same time, the existence of this day doesn’t mean that inequality problems are solved. At the very least, it’s celebrations are a step in the right direction and a chance to further gender equality. Below is a quote from one of my favorite sheroes: Malala Yousafzai. Her courage and strength, dedication to education and equality, and wisdom beyond her years is inspiring and noble. If you haven’t yet read the book “I Am Malala,” I highly highly highly recommend it. It feels appropriate to recommend this bright one’s gift to the world today. Happy International Women’s Day!
Wise Words From Inspirational Women: