Taking ‘gender’ out of the travel equation

Gender equality and social views on women are issues that places all over this world still struggle with. So it is to no surprise that when a woman is traveling alone, it’s conceived by most to be more dangerous and risky than it would be for a man.

In this interesting Huffington Post article by Elizabeth Sharma, What men need to know about women who travel solo, she shares her insights after encountering a man who attempts to inform her of the danger she could find herself in during her stay in South Africa.

Once Elizabeth stated that yes, she indeed was traveling alone, she was immediately met with forewarnings of potential danger by her new male acquaintance, specifically if she decided to go walking alone at night on the beach. (Hmmm… you don’t say?!) The author explains in her article how unnecessary it is for people to attempt to enlighten female travelers about how to stay safe, since women encounter the similar types of dangers/problems no matter where they are in the world.

This article seeks to elucidate how people should not automatically assume that women need a lesson on safe traveling simply because they are women. Women can be strong, independent travelers just like any man. What Elizabeth wants, and what many female travelers might want as well, is to eliminate the inference that women who travel alone are incapable of knowing how to fend for themselves, and therefore must be warned at every conceivable chance. Even though women don’t meet the physical caliber of men, that does not mean that people should assume they aren’t intellectually adept to avoid or handle unsafe situations.

I thought this was a great article that helps illustrates how a comment that may be made out of genuine concern can actually come across as disingenuous. I feel that it’s little comments like these that make women question whether they can actually fulfill their travel goals or cause women to become overly fearful of the possible dangers that any traveler could encounter.

Here is some food for thought: Do you find yourself altering your responses or advice towards someone who is traveling based off of his/her gender? If so, how does your response or advice differ? Do you think your response or advice is equally valid and useful for both male and female travelers?

Split, Croatia May 2017

2 thoughts on “Taking ‘gender’ out of the travel equation

  1. Love his piece! I agree; Telling someone to be careful can come from a good place, but it are little comments that add up to make women (in this instance) question their abilities.

    Nice read!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you enjoyed the article! Always appreciate the feedback girlfriend!

      My hope is to insight reflection for those who do encounter female travelers and decide to offer advice. While advice should always be appreciated, it’s important for the advice-giver to be aware of how and why they are altering the type of advice being given. If it’s because of the traveler’s gender, then maybe the advice-giver should take some time to acquaint themselves with the traveler and his/her experience before making assumptions of what he/she might be lacking.


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