Page 1


Empowerment Approach in Tourism: The Voices of Nicaraguan Women Introduction Page


Conclusions and Recommendations Page


Tourism from a Gender Perspective Page

Tourism Trends in Nicaragua




The Voices of Women Leaders in Nicaragua Page


Resources and references Page


INTRODUCTION In 2010, CAWN published a Briefing paper

on Tourism and Development Strategy in Central America, which explored the impact of development projects which had a tourism focus on the lives of women in the region1. Drawing on findings from field research undertaken in Costa Rica, Belize and Honduras, the Briefing presented a grim picture of conditions for women in the tourism sector and the impact of tourism on local people and the environment. Since then, the Responsible Tourism movement has been gathering pace and Nicaragua is currently in the process of developing a strategy on Gender and Tourism. Moreover, some of CAWN’s partners in Nicaragua are looking to tourism, not only as a source of employment, but also as an opportunity for increased autonomy and economic independence for women as managers of small rural based enterprises offering board and lodging and other types of tourism offerings for the growing population of tourists in the country. Against this background, CAWN felt it was opportune to delve into this area in order to gain some insights into the current situation and future prospects for women’s rights and employment.

Why talk about tourism? Nowadays it is somewhat anachronistic to think of leisure as the sole or primary function of the tourism industry. Tourism features in most Development Agendas, such as the Post-2015 Agenda for Sustainable Development2. It also features in free trade agreements and in most international development strategies. Its global reach has placed tourism at the heart of decison-making in all spheres, political, financial and economic. In part this can be explained in terms of the significant monetary exchanges it entails between countries, especially between rich and poor countries. By 2014, the travel and tourism industry were estimated to be providing 10 per cent of world GDP (US$ 7.6 trillion) and to be providing an estimated 266 million jobs worldwide3. However, if we analyse tourism solely from a financial perspective, we may lose sight of the fact that money transfers between countries does not necessarily imply a win-win situation or an equal distribution of financial gain at the level of civil society. Thus, there is a need for critical analysis, as well as strategies and instruments aimed at undertanding the impact of tourism and enhancing its capacity to bring about economically, socially and environmentally sustainable development.

World Tourism – Key figures • Tourism currently comprises 9% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) • The market share of emerging economies increased from 30% in 1980 to 45% in 2014 • The tourism sector provides 1 out of every 11 jobs globally • Tourism comprises 6% of the world’s exports at a value of USD$1.1 trillion • The number of tourists has risen from 25 million in 1950 to 1.1 billion in 2014. By 2030, it is forecast that there will be 1.8 billion international tourists • The Americas recorded the strongest growth in 2014 with an 8% increase in international arrivals. In North America, growth was led by Mexico (+20%) and the United States (+7%). In Central America, tourism arrivals rose by 6% with highest growth rates in Guatemala and Belize (+9%) followed by Nicaragua (+8%), Panama and El Salvador (+5%) and Costa Rica (+4%) Source: UNWTO (2015)

1 Available to download from CAWN’s website 2 For example, Goal 8.9 para 2030, which advocates the elaboration and implementation of policies aimed at promoting sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes culture and local products. Also Goal 12.b that advocates the development and application of instruments aimed at monitoring the effects of tourism on sustainable development. 3 World Travel and Tourism Council



In the tourism sector gender differences

and diversity issues are rarely taken into account. Many tourism strategies aim to reduce poverty and enhance sustainable development, but fail to recognise that gender inequality undermines a project’s sustainability and inhibits the processes of women’s empowerment. Tourism with a gender perspective means analysing how women and men contribute to, experience and perceive the benefits

(both individual and collective) of tourism development. It implies analysing the impact of tourism on gender relations in order to avoid widening the gender gap and exacerbating existing gender inequalities. Tourism policies with a gender focus should seek to:   Maximise the benefits of tourism through a gender-sensitive analysis of poverty and the root causes of the feminisation of poverty.

  Promote women’s empowerment by opening the doors for women to address all aspects of tourism, including its social, political, economic and environmental effects. The need for a gender-focussed analysis has been steadily gaining ground in tourism debates4. The incipient body of knowledge in this sphere has been developed through projects, independent research, and collaborations between institutions.

  Close the gender gap in previous and current tourism developments.


Main Conclusions

Global Report on Women 2010 in Tourism 2010 (UN Women and UNWTO)



To examine how and to what degree tourism can positively impact the lives of women in developing regions of the world by examining the current status of women in tourism and developing indicators for future monitoring.

Although tourism provides numerous opportunities for women, there are still gender inequalites that undermine its impact on women’s economic empowerment.

Best Practices in gendersensitive sustainable tourism (FIIAPP- International and IberoAmerican Institute of Administration and Public Policy)


To present a selection of best practices as a suitable basis for the advancement of equal opportunities and gender equality.

In order to realise best practices in tourism, it is necessary to start with an intial gender-sensitive phase, provide professional training that challenges gender roles, and put into practice measures that enable participation and decision-making, address the sexual division of labour and mainstream gender training across the tourism industry.

“Women in Tourism – Unfulfilled Promises, Continuing Myths”, in: Tracing the Maze: a Dossier on Women and Tourism (Equations,India)


To examine the nature of women’s participation, their role in influencing decisions around tourism, and the extent to which they have been able to break boundaries. This analysis is done around three issues: Women and Tourism Policy, Tourism and Gender Relations; and Women’s Engagement with Tourism – Issues and Concerns.

Despite the visibility of women in tourism, there is a need for deeper analysis in relation to the scope and type of opportunities that tourism offers for women.

International Perspectives on Women and Work in Hotels, Catering and Tourism. (Thomas Baum, International Labour Office, Bureau for Gender Equality, Working Paper 1/2013)


To examine the cultural and structural Women occupy the least valued positions determinants of women’s roles in the in these sectors. Despite the importance hotel, catering and tourism sectors. of their work, they are expected to be flexible. For the most part, women’s work in these sectors has a negative impact on gender balance.

4 See point 14 of resolution no. 69 of the UN “Promotion of sustainable tourism, including eco-tourism, for poverty eradication and the protection of the environment” which deals with gender equality And also Equality in Tourism’s response to this resolution:


Sun, Sand and Ceilings: 2013 Women in the Boardroom in the Tourism Industry (Equality in Tourism, UK)

To argue that leadership and decision- Of the 78 surveys carried out in 4 strategic making are the fundamental contourism sectors, only 15.8% of manageditions of gender equality in tourist ment positions are occupied by women. enterprises across the UK.

Gender and sustainable tourism: reflections on theory and practice (Ferguson, Lucy & Moreno Alarcón, Daniela)


To reflect on some of the key tensions of integrating gender into sustainable tourism projects. This analysis is based on the challenges inherent in gender mainstreaming processes and the resistance to incorporating gender equality and gender analysis as core principles of sustainable tourism.

Gender should be integrated within the current framework of sustainable tourism, rather than trying to challenge the key assumptions embedded therein. Gender experts are often contracted to mainstream gender into projects “retrospectively”, fundamentally limiting and constraining the possibilities of contributing to meaningful and sustained change in gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Gender Equity in Tou2015 rism? Many Shadows and Few Lights. (Responsible Tourism Forum, Spain).

To deal with gender equality and examines the question of the extent to which tourism can be seen as the motor of development processes. The analysis is based on three tourism experiences in the foreign aid sector.

The paper highlights the risk of promoting women’s empowerment in tourism for the wrong reasons, such as supporting agendas linked to economic growth and wealth creation. The paper also warns that while tourism can provide access to the labour market for women, it is not necessarily a way to improve their quality of life in a more holistic perspective. Source: Daniela Moreno Alarcón

Some examples of studies that examine the impact of tourism on women and gender relations are given in Table 1 (further resources and links are included at the end of this Briefing). Generally speaking, most studies approach the topic by asking questions such as: to what extent and how does tourism give visibility to women? How does tourism provide employment for women? To what extent has tourism contributed to reducing poverty in areas where women live? These are important questions to be addressed but, for the most part, they are discussed from within the existing parameters of tourism. An analysis based on promoting gender equality needs to go beyond traditional frameworks in order to address broader questions, such as:


What are the criteria that can help us differentiate between initiatives that are gender-focussed and those that are not, in order to identify what needs to change? As will be argued below, these questions will only be addressed once the global community has taken on the challenge of viewing tourism as an opportuntiy for promoting gender equality, leadership and decision-making power for women.


How can tourism policies be made more gender-sensitive?


How can tourist budgets be adapted to both create opportunities and fulfil commitments in relation to promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment?


How can we analyse, not only the impact of tourism on women but also women’s impact on tourism?


Focus Group Meeting Photo by: Daniela Alarcon


icaragua has seen a steady growth in tourism in the last decade or longer. Tourist numbers rose from 1,011,251 in 2010 to 1,329,663 in 2014, and over the same period, tourism revenues rose from US$308.5 million to $US445.4 million, around 5.3 per cent of GDP (INTUR, 2013). There are two main types of tourism: beach and rural. Whilst beach tourism constitutes the most important type in terms of numbers, rural or community-based tourism (CBT) is steadily gaining ground within the tourism sector, especially in relation to the goal of poverty-reduction The Nicaraguan Tourism Institute (INTUR) provides the following definition of CBT: This type of tourism promotes the participation of local communities in planning and management processes involved in the development of tourist activities in their territories taking account of the sustainability of their operations. It presupposes the involvement of local people in rural community destinations (Definición de la Política y Estrategias de Turismo Rural Sostenible (TRS) de Nicaragua INTUR, 2009)

Women selling homegrown fruits and vegetables in Cerro Negro. Photo by Daniela Alarcon

Tourism now features in Nicaragua’s Human Development Plan and is viewed as a tool for development and the enhancement of living standards. This is illustrated by the following reference to tourism in the Plan: Tourism stands out in the National Human Development Plan as an integral part of the productive strategy for

2012-16 and as part of the economic growth strategy based on increasing employment and reducing poverty. As such, we aim to establish Nicaragua as a tourist destination, by promoting the natural beauty of the landscape, as well the history and culture of its people, within the framework of the National Tourism Development Strategy, thereby stimulating public-private investment in the sector and improving the tourism product. A key focus will be on supporting family and community enterprises and co-operatives, as well as strengthening the capacity and institutional leadership of the Nicaraguan Tourism Institute (INTUR). Source: Gobierno de Nicaragua (2012) Plan Nacional de Desarrollo Humano 2012-2016 CBT has also been a target of international development aid and has been supported by some corporate groups within the framework of Social Corporate Responsibility Strategies5.

Opportunities for women in tourism in Nicaragua Tourism provides many jobs and incomegenerating opportunities. According to the PNDTS (National Plan for the Development of Sustainable Tourism), there were 76,432 people directly or indirectly employed in tourism in Nicaragua in 2003. By 2009, this figure almost doubled reaching 140,404. It is likely, as elsewhere, that women represent the majority of those working in the tourism sector, but there is no oficial sex disaggregation of these figures.

Global Report on Women in Tourism concluded that: Women are not as well represented at the profesional level as men. Women are still not being paid as much as men and they are not receiving the same level of education and in-service training as men. (p.65) It is highly likely that this pattern is mirrored in Nicaragua. Based on the latest UNDP report for Nicaragua, women workers earn on average 30 per cent less than men and women are concentrated in insecure, parttime, temporary and low status employment7. This follows the globalised employment trends characterised by occupational segregation and the sexual division of labour, with women concentrated in domestic, caring and low status work and men occupying more high-status, management positions in the productive sectors. According to unofficial sources, INTUR has been working on the development of a Gender and Tourism Strategy. Although this Strategy has not been officially launched, internal training of INTUR staff in various municipalities has already begun. What is most disappointing is that many of the leading women’s organisations in Nicaragua (such as those interviewed as part of this research) were not consulted in the development of the strategy, nor were they informed about INTUR’s thinking and approach.

There is very limited published offical data on the status and conditions of women’s employment in the tourism sector in Nicaragua. According to the UNWTO Global Report on Women in Tourism 2010, the proportion of female employers in the hotel and restaurant sectors in Nicaragua is higher than average. In fact, Nicaragua ranks fifth in the world and second in Latin America on this score. However, according to the latest UNDP Report for Nicaragua, businesses owned by women are smaller than those owned by men6. Most studies indicate that women are concentrated in low paid, insecure low status jobs. The 2010

5 For example, the activities promoted by the Grupo Pellas, the owner of this group was called by the Forbes Magazine “the new czar of tourism”. 6 El Mercado Laboral de Nicaragua desde un enfoque de genero, PNUD 2014 7 ibid 4

Woman from Masaya cooking corn cakes (tortas de maiz). Photo by Daniela Alarcon


despite their important contributions in debates on health, sexual and reproductive rights, violence, leadership, environment, the economy and land management, their work in relation to tourism is still in its infancy.

Nicaraguan feminists and women’s orga-

In 2014 the author of this Briefing conducted interviews with the leaders of four prominent women’s organisations. Three were carried out between October and November 2014 and the fourth in April 2015. The four women interviewed represent organisations actively involved in promoting community development, gender equality and the empowerment of rural women.

nisations have played a critical part in debates around gender issues and development in general. Through their own struggles and activism, they have developed a deeper and more profound understanding of the concepts of poverty and human development from a gender perspective. Nonetheless,

The potential benefits of tourism for women All four women recognise the significant tourism potential of Nicaragua’s many natural attractions, which have put Nicaragua on the tourist map both regionally and internationally. As explained by Sandra Ramos: We have few mass market niches here: the Free Trade Zones, emigration and now tourism. Thus tourism is an important development opportunity for women in local communities. So, it is crucial to know how to manage this

TABLE 2: PROFILE OF THE WOMEN INTERVIEWEES Blanca Lidia Torres, Coordinator of the Federation of Women’s Rural Producer Cooperatives in Nicaragua (Femuprocan).

This organisation supports women working in cooperatives, rural producers and other women directly linked to the rural sector. Femuprocan has been legally established for 17 years, but was first set up in the 1980s. It was originally the women’s section of UNAG – the National Union of Farmers and Cattle Ranchers of Nicaragua. It was within these two organisations, first UNAG and then Femuprocan, that the struggle to establish women producers’ collectives began.

María Teresa Fernández, President of the Coordinating Committee of Rural Women (CMR).

CMR is made up of 112 cooperatives and three community and municipal organisations in ten local Departments. In total it brings together around 10,600 rural women. Like Blanca Lidia, María Teresa Fernández, began her journey of activism within UNAG.

Haydee Castillo, President of the Women’s Both these organisations promote the participation of women in the procesForum for Central American and Caribbean ses of regional integration based on justice, gender equality and respect for Integration, and President of the Institute of diversity. Leadership of Las Segovias (ILLS). Sandra Ramos, President of the Movement of Working and Unemployed Women – Maria Elena Cuadra (MEC).

process and ensure that communities do not lose out, as happened with goldmining in the past and to ensure that tourism brings added value and generates secure, not precarious, employment opportunities. In my view, tourism can act both as a vehicle for the empowerment of women, but can also reproduce existing forms of gender subordination. In order for tourism to have a positive impact on gender equity, it must be accompanied by factors that contribute to the holistic empowerment of women.

Founded in May 1994, MEC is a broad-based, pluralistic and independent organisation that promotes the inclusion and full participation of women in Nicaraguan society and the universal principles of equality, freedom and social justice. These aims are pursued through training and rights awarenessraising, lobbying, research and information for women about their rights at work and their sexual and reproductive rights, and legal support services for women and their families.

Both Femuprocan and MEC have tried to penetrate the tourism arena. Blanca Lidia Torres commented that “they wanted to take up (tourism) because of the enormous wealth of local communities and districts.” MEC has developed several tourism initiatives, including a project called Women Cattle-Ranchers’ Route (La Ruta de las Mujeres del Ganado) in Juigalpa and a research project aimed at increasing knowledge-base on women within tourism. However, these projects were not able to be implemented due to lack of funding. All four women agree that rural tourism with a community focus is the right model


to adopt. For Haydee Castillo, a focus on community-based tourism is important because “it has a more cultural and environmental dimension”: When we talk about this (a community focus) we are touching upon questions of culture and spirituality. Life itself is lived as a community, not as a collection of individuals. This is a breeding ground that can contribute to women’s empowerment. Despite the funding difficulties encountered, MEC has initiated a programme of training for rural women on Omotepe island. This aims to raise awareness among women

that rural tourism is an opportunity for development that can include and empower women in rural areas. The views of the four women are informed by an understanding of the rural context and although they agree tourism brings infrastructure improvements, they are aware that it rarely benefits rural women. In the words of Maria Teresa Fernandez: [Infrastructural improvements] are made in order to enhance foreign investment. In the areas where rural women live the roads are in a bad condition and there is no public transport. The only access is by taxi, which is very expensive. As a result, rural areas remain isolated. This situation is inextricably linked to the limited impact of rural tourism on gender inequalities.

Blanca Lidia Torres

Another critical issue highlighted by the four interviewees is the behaviour of tourists, which results in negative perceptions of tourism and tourists among local people, especially in rural areas. According to Sandra Ramos, this negative impact on tourism in the rural context is compounded by the lack of involvement of women in tourism management: I feel that tourists come to our country to do things they cannot do in their own country. I do not believe that tourism ‘develops’ me. But, along with other women, I see ways in which tourism could be more sustainable. Currently, tourism does not prioritise women’s empowerment. It is tourism for tourism’s sake.

Focus on family and women’s traditional roles vs strategic gender approaches A critical question from the outset of the process of tourism planning and management is the specific gender framework that will be applied. In her interview, María Teresa Fernández provided a definition of a gen-

der perspective in relation to tourism that encapsulates the implications of this term for rural women and stressed that it needs to go beyond a mainstreaming approach: A gender perspective needs to be seen as a vital element of rights….[…] it means resources to gain knowledge, managing knowledge, increasing selfesteem, leadership, having the resources to undertake income-generation, productive activities, access to land, which is a source of power for women and not just a resource to be used for producing food for others. […] having legal and material security over an asset as fundamental as land is in rural areas. However, there is a tendency for such an understanding of a gender perspective to be diluted in politics and economic policy as a result of personal resistance to this concept. All four women interviewed concur that the understanding of the concept of a gender perspective has been undermined by two erroneous interpretatations of this concept: the family-oriented focus and the woman-orientated focus. The family-oriented focus puts the interest of the family above women’s individual interest, as explained by Sandra Ramos: In this family-focussed vision, the ultimate goal, in my view, is to render women invisible. Women are lost in the notion of the family in an attempt to reinforce an outdated vision of society […] this is the tendency in all public policies […] the main problem with the family-oriented approach is that it does not attempt to tackle gender inequalities. The key problem with the other tendency, the woman-oriented focus, is that it looks at success solely in terms of numbers. It contributes to the belief that, if there are more women than men working in an organisation, there is gender equality, even though men are paid more than women who are doing the same jobs and decision-making is mostly assigned to the male minority. This emphasis on numbers also fails to look at the critical issue of gender awareness. Even in organisations where women form the majority of workers, they often have no understanding about gender equality and women’s empowerment. This is very common in the hotel sector, in government departments and even within community-based rural tourism.


The critical importance of access to land for women Another important issue which arose in the interviews is land ownership. As pointed out by María Teresa Fernández, the unequal distribution of land along gender lines dates back to the revolutionary period and still applies today: […] women are not part of the distribution of land, chiefly because we were not aware that this is our right […] many men got land titles and sold them, they did not even put the land to productive use. The problem is that there is no sense of justice in land distribution policies. Haydeé Castillo makes a similar argument: Many men do not even question land ownership because this is a right that they were born with, it is part of their daily life. We have been working with the indigenous people of Mozonte. In this place, inheritance is automatically handed down from the father to the oldest son. If the oldest child is a girl, it would go to the male child or else to the husband of the eldest daughter if there are no male children. We have begun working on g ender and ethnicity […] it has been a complex process […] even amongst the communities, a patriarchal vision prevails. One of the fundamental pillars of the work on gender and tourism is that it should facilitate the participation of women in tourist programmes and pursue women’s right to land ownership. This is the key for enabling women to effectively enter into the productive chain of tourism and ensuring that women do not remain exclusively on the lower rung of decision-making and participation.

Tourism employment and the reproduction of the sexual division of labour All four women leaders interviewed associate tourism with the sexual division of labour which confines women to the kitchen, cleaning and kitchen-garden. Their concern is that, in the absence of any questioning or analysis of the causes of this sexual division of labour, women will remain confined to work that is socially unrecognised and un-

valued in economic terms. Sandra Ramos made the following comments: They do not identify this issue [the sexual division of labour] because they view it as natural. How much work has been done with women to support their economic empowerment, raise gender awareness, self-esteem and women’s community and business leadership capacities? We believe that all voluntary (unpaid) work is acceptable, provided it is done with consciousness and autonomy. In other words, it must be preceded by a process of awareness-raising on gender roles and the gender gap.

Towards an understanding of the empowerment approach in tourism The work of all these organisations is based on a holistic approach to women’s empowerment. In MEC, this approach aims to promote women’s empowerment on three levels: economic, political and physical. The economic level entails access to and control over resources and the development of women’s capacities to generate income and use this to acquire the goods and services they require. The political level means developing women’s leadership capacities and their participation in decision-making processes. And at the physical level, it means defending women’s rights to make decisions over their own lives and bodies. Femuprocan’s empowerment strategy is based on a people-centred model of sustainable development that promotes the active participation of rural women producers on an equal footing with men. This involves supporting women’s equal access to productive resources within cooperatives; working towards changing the macho culture still prevalent in the rural sector, which engenders violence, discrimination and other abuses; supporting women’s participation in decision-making processes; and the inclusion of women’s demands on the political agenda.

areas providing economic security, and also leads to strengthening women’s bargaining capacity and access to other resources. Without access to land rights, women’s empowerment in rural areas is impossible. Moreover, in some tourism cooperatives in rural areas, land ownership is a prerequisite for membership of the Cooperative and a position on the management committe. CMR has been actively involved in lobbying for Law 717, which seeks to establish a fund for the purchase of land on a gender equitable basis for rural women. CMR has also been involved in the development of legislative proposals for the reform of the General Law of Cooperatives (Law no. 499) which is aimed at incorporating a cross-cutting gender perspective into this law. FEMUPROCAN has also been very involved in this process and since 2010 has been conducting a national campaign to promote a gender focus within legislation governing cooperatives. Their campaign has focussed on raising awareness of the importance of this issue among their members and the public at large. Although the work of these organisations is not primarily focussed on women in tourism, their approach and strategies can readily be adapted to the tourist sector. Furthermore, the four women interviewed recognise the potential benefits for women and see the attraction of tourism, not only for the women they support, but also for themselves. As Blanca admitted in her interview: If one day I leave Femuprocan in order to start up another productive activity, it will have to be something linked to rural tourism. That is the dream that truly sparks my imagination.

María Teresa Fernández, President of the Coordinating Committee of Rural Women (CMR).

Haydee Castillo, President of the Women’s Forum for Central American and Caribbean Integration, and President of the Institute of Leadership of Las Segovias (ILLS).

Sandra Ramos, President of the Movement of Working and Unemployed Women – Maria Elena Cuadra (MEC).

CMR’s cross-cutting approach to empowerment includes promoting women’s access to land and other productive resources in order to set in train a process of economic empowerment and the improvement of the living conditions of rural women and their families. CMR puts emphasis on land ownership because, it is a key resource in rural Blanca Lidia Torres, Coordinator of the Federation of Women’s Rural Producer Cooperatives in Nicaragua (Femuprocan).



hese interviews show that there is still a lot of work to be done to integrate a gender focus into the tourism sector in Nicaragua and we are at an early stage in the process. Two key conclusions can be drawn from this discussion and the issues highlighted by women leaders, which are applicable more generally to the tourism sector in other countries and regions. These are:

  Gender analysis is either absent

or flawed in existing models of responsible and sustainable tourism. Gender is frequently mentioned in tourism projects, policies, action plans and research studies. But for the most part, this is tokenistic and does not reflect a genuine acceptance of gender equality as a fundamental principle or as a central axis of sustainable tourism.   Governments and policy-makers

need to draw on the experience and expertise of women’s organisations. The work of women’s organisations is based on a deep understanding of the causes and effects of gender inequalities and the disempowerment of women. Through their work with women, they have developed effective tools and methodologies for enhancing women’s empowerment and these can be applied to all sectors, including the tourist sector. Thus it is essential that their voices be integrated into policies and strategies developed such as the Gender and Tourism Strategy recently developed in Nicaragua.

The following measures must be adopted by the relevant Government ministries, non-governmental institutions and the academic community with a view to promoting equal opportunities and gender equality in the tourism sector:   Undertake further studies to better understand and promote the position of women in the value chains related to all tourism-related activities.   Develop a legal framework for the incorporation of a clear gender focus within tourism laws and policies.   Develop a legal framework for addressing the problem of insecure employment within the tourism sector, which affects both men and women, but in particular women.   Promote employment opportunities for women in currently male-dominated sectors so as to reduce the sexual divisionof labour.   Develop professional and university courses on gender and tourism in universities and profesional training institutions.   Provide relevant skills training for rural women engaged in tourism activities to enhance their business management capacities and understanding of social, economic and environment issues affecting their activities.   Incorporate an analysis of the gender dimensions of all public policies related to tourism.   Establish a funding stream for projects aimed at promoting gender equality within tourism.   Develop a set of clear evaluation criteria for assessing positive gender impact of tourism project.


Resources and references • Murguialday, Clara; Moreno, Daniela; Tovar, Nuria; Carraro Federica & Puigdueta, Ivanka (2015) Gender Equality in Tourism? Many shadows and few lights. • Equality in Tourism (2013) Sun, Sand and Ceilings: women in the boardroom in tourist industry • EQUATIONS (2011) Women in Tourism – “Unfulfilled Promises, Continuing Myths” • Ferguson, L., & Alarcón, D. M. (2015). “Gender and sustainable tourism: reflections on theory and practice”. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 23(3), 401-416. • Ferguson, L. (2015). Tourism, the millennium development goals and gender equality. The international encyclopaedia of social and behavioural sciences. • Fundación Internacional y para Iberoamérica de Administración y Políticas Públicas, FIIAPP (2011) “Turismo como oportunidad: Buenas prácticas en turismos sostenible desde una perspectiva de género” English versión: • Gobierno de Nicaragua (2012) Plan Nacional de Desarrollo Humano 2012-2016 • INTUR (2007). Visión estratégica de turismo 2007 – 2011. • INTUR (2009). Definición de la Política y Estrategias de Turismo Rural Sostenible (TRS), de Nicaragua. • INTUR (2011) Plan Nacional de Desarrollo del Turismo Sostenible (PNDST) • INTUR (2013) Boletín de Estadísticas de Turismo de Nicaragua No. 24 • Moreno Alarcón, D. (2014). El camino del turismo con igualdad. El caso de Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. Memorias, (23). • International Labour Organisation(2013) International Perspectives on Women and Work in Hotels, Catering and Tourism • UNWTO (2001) Global Report of Women in Tourism • UNWTO Tourism Highlights, 2015 Edition

Websites of Organisations • Femuprocan • Coordinadora de Mujeres Rurales • MEC, Movimiento de mujeres María Elena Cuadra • Foro de Mujeres para la integración Centroamericana y Caribe • Instituto de Liderazgo de las Segovias (ILLS) • Equality in Tourism • Instituto Nicaragüense de Turismo (INTUR)


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This Briefing was written by Daniela Moreno Alarc贸n, who is a consultant, trainer, and researcher in gender issues in tourism development. She is a director of Equality in Tourism, a UK-based organisation dedicated to achieving gender equality in tourism. This Briefing paper was developed within the framework of her PhD research on Gender and Tourism in Nicaragua With many thanks to the women leaders in Nicaragua for their insights and the information they provided in the interviews.

Translation: Angela Hadjipateras Editing: Angela Hadjipateras and Marilyn Thomson Designed by: Laia Bard贸n Printed by: Upstream Cooperative November 2015, London



The Central America Women’s Network (CAWN) campaigns against the violation of women’s rights that result from patriarchal values that aim to control women’s reproduction and sexuality and which perpetuate gender inequality. We work in solidarity with women’s organisations in Central America to highlight their demands and campaigns.

44-48 Shepherdess Walk, London N1 7JD  |  E-mail:  | CAWN is a registered charity No.1155757 and a not for profit company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales No.3935720

Empowerment Approach in Tourism: The Voices of Nicaraguan Women  
Empowerment Approach in Tourism: The Voices of Nicaraguan Women  

Tourism features in most Development Agendas, such as the Post-2015 Agenda for Sustainable Development . It also features in free trade agre...