Advocating Empowerment and Gender Equality: A Study of Community-Based Tourism Initiatives

Advocating Empowerment and Gender Equality: A Study of Community-Based Tourism Initiatives

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-6796-1.ch001
(Individual Chapters)
No Current Special Offers


The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development acknowledges that economic growth that countries are seeking need to be accompanied by same-degree efforts to combat inequality, eradicate poverty, and protect the planet's environment and climate, and has been recognized by organizations and individuals for its quest of sustainable development. This study focuses on the fifth sustainable development goal: gender equality, applied into the tourism industry. Tourism has become one of the main sectors for today's economy, thanks to its weight in the GDP, as well as its contribution to job creation and employment rate translated into local populations' well-being. The chapter aims to analyze and discuss the role and importance of entrepreneurship allied to tourism to achieve gender equality. The analysis of case studies comprises a series of community-based tourism initiatives developed in four different continents and selected on the basis of specific criteria, such as the role of women, and the rural, tourist, and community environment.
Chapter Preview


In 2015, the United Nations (UN) approved a new 2030 Agenda for countries and societies. Successors to the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of the 2015 Agenda, the new 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) add more subjects and aim to address a greater number of social problems. The SDGs are more comprehensive, easily measurable and with concrete target objectives (UN, 2018). The countries covered by this agenda acknowledge that their initiatives, such as eradication of poverty in all its manifestations, need to be accompanied by strategies linked to economic growth that address at the same time social needs, such as education, health, employment, climate change and environmental protection (Portales, 2019). This is because such a multidimensional challenge as poverty requires a multidimensional response through education, work, markets, and social and employment protection.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), a UN institution, has incorporated this agenda into its activity, with a premise that, through tourism, the sustainable development goals can be achieved. In fact, as an economic activity, tourism represents a large percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of many countries and is a source of employability worldwide, making the sustainable development of this sector a necessity (Peña-Sánchez et al., 2020) rather than a mere recommendation. In light of these tendencies, entrepreneurship presents itself as a fundamental element for the tourism activity, and, together, they are believed to play an important role in achieving the SDGs. Despite its importance, entrepreneurship rates vary (sometimes significantly) between countries, particularly in regard to the number of female entrepreneurs, which is in most of the cases significantly lower than that of males (Bastian et al., 2019). Although local economies are now including the female workforce on their agendas for economic development (Koutsou et al., 2009), there is still a lot of work to be done. In tourism, female empowerment can be achieved through community-based initiatives (McCall & Mearns, 2021). Therefore, it is important to understand how community-based tourism (CBT) supports gender equality and what role entrepreneurship plays in this process.

The present chapter is based on the fifth SDG, gender equality, and focuses specifically on the role of entrepreneurship and female empowerment in tourism. The methodology of this study is mainly qualitative. In order to analyze and discuss the role and importance of entrepreneurship allied to tourism as a means to achieve gender equality, four international cases of community-based tourism were selected, with 'tourism', 'entrepreneurship' and 'female empowerment' being the center of the business model.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Inequality: An imbalanced relation between two parties. At socio-economic level refers to the situation in which resources are distributed unevenly resulting in reduced opportunities.

Sustainable Development: Development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the same ability in future generations.

Entrepreneurship: Ability to develop, organize and implement a business idea.

Poverty: A state or condition of lacking basic resources to live a healthy and safe life at, at least, minimum level.

Empowerment: Degree of power, autonomy and self-determination in people, organizations, and societies.

Gender: A socially constructed characteristic of men and women.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: