Girls just wanna have fun-women and travelling

Welcome globetrotters, and an especially cordial greeting to our male readers as we shed some light on a subject that is relevant to half of us, and even more relevant to the other half 🙂 Today we explore the experience of women travelers and highlight some of the differences when riding the global rollercoaster with a xx (or part thereof) genetic make up. Travelling as a woman can influence your travel experience from ways that are truly amazing through to the truly dangerous. The purpose of this week is to draw these to our collective globetrotting consciousness and share some love with the sisters doin it for themselves.

The girls visit Prince Edward Island. Soon the...

The girls visit Prince Edward Island. Soon they will travel to the Paciific for a Women in Sport conference in BC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Being female implies certain responsibilities when it comes to particular matters. We are all left with the consequences of our decisions on the road regardless of gender but for women, some of these can leave us more vulnerable. These include:

  • pregnancy or possible infection from unprotected sex
  • access to contraception
  • Predatory/sexual violence or unwanted sexual attention (I would say the same for men but I have few tales from my male friends of any sex that was unwanted, just saying)
  • involvement in unspoken contractual agreements such as sexual favours for free accommodation
  • Being taken advantage of financially and not being taken seriously when bargaining
  • Higher risk of danger from sleeping in any place with an unknown degree of safety, be it formal accommodation, park bench, bus shelter or airport
  • targeted robbery or scamming

Of course we can all fall victim to these whether male, female, home or away. In this case, the main difference your GTG notices is the changing role of women from culture to culture and how being underprepared can put us in an undesirable position. Rules surrounding dress code in particular can change more dramatically for women and have more serious outcomes for the oblivious.

Train platform marking, indicating that this p...

One of Japan’s strategies to avoid sexual harassment on crowded trains.

Far from suggesting that women don’t enjoy the odd amorous encounter, travelling as a female can give you the advantage of being more likely to be approached and to whatever degree, immerse yourself in the local culture. Being female also means you are more likely to be helped out, offered free drink, accommodation, food, transport and other pluses. Currently women have a notorious reputation for taking advantage of these favours with no intent of reciprocation and men have a wrap for looking to capitalize where possible on an opportunity to help out a (usually lone) woman. Your GTG’s open request here is that you all manage these situations as fairly and evenly as possible, and have a bundle of fun along the way.

Of course there are also the arduous yet pleasurable pressures of managing to keep clean, look different and drag along the collection that any healthy shoe fetish will have accumulated (a tad stereotypical but hear me out), but such chores are often balanced out by the romance of travel itself and the joys in the small things that mean more away from home.

To re-enforce my point, during the process of writing this I came across other articles about sexual harassment and travel, seconding my opinion that this is a current topic of great importance. Personally I have two (amongst other) stories to add to the collection… while group napping al fresco In Spain, I woke to find a young frisky Spaniard attempting to slide his hand into my shorts, and my second tale involves a booty grab on a train leaving Tokyo Disneyland, where the culprits proceeded to discuss the occasion, unaware I was able to understand. I feel fortunate to (touch wood) remain relatively unharmed or molested to a more serious degree and have escaped with a bit of a laugh but somewhat peeved that this remains an issue in our day and age.

I’ll end my rant with the lighter thought that many women travelers experience no trouble of the kind discussed today, these issues have been raised with the intent to help all be better prepared or be on the lookout if a fellow globetrotter could use a hand. On that note, happy trotting and until next week.