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7 Mar, 2013

Int’l Women’s Day Poll: How do Travel & Tourism Ads Portray Women?

Bangkok — The world marks International Women’s Day on March 8. In the Asia-Pacific, commemoration of International Women’s Day will be dedicated to ending violence against women and girls. A statement by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific says, “Globally, up to seven in ten women will be beaten, raped, abused, or mutilated in their lifetimes. Violence against women is a living reality, universal to all countries, societies and cultures. It wrecks families and communities. It stunts development. It is a global pandemic that we can, and must, prevent.”

The International Trades Union Congress has issued a statement saying: “To all those women, risking imprisonment, torture, and even death just because they defend women’s rights, to all those women taking a stand for a living wage or a workplace free of violence, to all those women making painful sacrifices for the sake of a society with fair relationships between women and men, to all of them, the ITUC says: thank you!”

Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunications Union, says: “Violence against women is a social scourge that knows no cultural, economic or geographical boundaries. It is a tragic fact that some 70% of women globally will be the victims of some kind of violence during their lifetimes. Violence takes many forms – from physical harm to verbal and psychological abuse, to punitive economic actions designed to distress and deprive. In today’s enlightened modern world, we should and must adopt a zero tolerance policy.

“As ever, technology is part of the mix – for good and for bad. Simple technologies like mobile phones, social networks and digital cameras can help protect women by providing vital communications links, ways of sharing, supporting and informing other women and their loved ones, and the means of documenting the actions of those who engage in threatening or violent behavior. The fear of being photographed, recorded or filmed is sometimes enough to serve as a disincentive to violent language or actions. When it is not, an electronic record of such behaviour can help women seek justice and redress.”

In her speech to the 5th Annual Women’s Empowerment Principles Event at the UN headquarters in New York on 6 March, 2013 Michelle Bachelet, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, highlighted good practices in the corporate world which she said “can teach, inspire and be replicated by others seeking to demonstrate their own commitment to the human rights and well-being of all.” Here they are:

(+) A global IT company based in India established a zero tolerance policy against sexual harassment in the workplace. If an incident does occur, there’s a “whistle blower” policy that protects sources and a committee that quickly reviews and acts on grievances.

(+) Another technology company offers women’s self-defense classes on campus and special transportation, including a security guard if necessary, to make sure women reach home safely on days when they work late.

(+) A power company in Brazil has created a shelter for women survivors of domestic violence, along with a referral and information support center.

(+) An Asian company demonstrates its commitment to the rights of girls through a “Save the Girl Child” initiative, which provides pregnant women with information about healthy pregnancy, safe delivery and infant care. It also addresses the issue of female feticide by sending clear messages that girls matter.

(+) A Kenyan communications company provides free on-site day-care, private facilities for breastfeeding and an in-house physician.

(+) Two Spanish companies offer survivors of domestic violence job placement services designed to ease their transition back into the workforce.

(+) And a U.S.-based digital media company understands the important link between women and the use of technology in promoting freedom and empowerment. And so, they provide travel and scholarship assistance for women to attend technology-focused learning events around the world.

Today, Travel Impact Newswire joins the effort and the pursuit of good practises by seeking to raise awareness about what is arguably one of the most unexplored questions in the travel & tourism industry.

Click here to read this article. Here is quote from it: “The Lebanese Ministry of Tourism launched a new campaign “Lebanon Blues” to target tourists around the world to visit Lebanon. It shows a man completely lost focus in his work because he is still thinking of his vacation in Lebanon. Then an image of a woman in a swimsuit reminds him of his vacation and he gets a flashback of all the gorgeous, almost naked Lebanese women partying all the time back in Beirut.”

Now click here to read this article.  It says, “The Women’s International Zionist Organization has handed out its annual badge of shame for sexist advertising, and this year the trophy goes to the Israeli Ministry of Tourism. The offending advertising campaign is the Ministry’s 2012 initiative “Each One Brings One,” starring Israel model, actress and producer Noa Tishby. According to WIZO, the campaign, spearheaded by the Israel Government Advertising Agency, sends out an outdated message suggesting that women are incapable of performing “male” tasks, as well as objectifying women as pretty little things restricted to their traditional societal roles.”

Now have your say in the poll at the top of the right hand column on this website’s home page: How do travel and tourism advertisements portray women?

I am sure many academics and students of tourism will find this subject well worth pursuing long into the future.