Last month our Operations Manager, Emily, represented Ecotourism Australia at the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Dialogue Event for Paths to Women’s Economic Empowerment in Tourism and Textiles businesses.
The event was held by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, United Nations Development Program, and IORA at the Park Royal Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and brought together representatives from all twenty IORA member nations; nearly 100 participants sharing their unique and inspiring experiences.
The purpose of the event was to promote women’s economic empowerment as a key element of broader economic growth and to establish several key principles, actions and acknowledgements to push to IORA Ministers. Tourism and textiles were of central focus as two industries with a high level of female representation. For tourism in particular, economies are transforming from manufacturing to service industries with tourism predicted to account for 1 in every 10 jobs by 2022 globally, contributing a crucial source of national identity and foreign revenue. Key messages included the need for:
– Investment in vocational, industry-based training and education;
– Promotion of national cultural identity to promote self, product and place;
– Building a picture of the lived reality of women in IORA states through collection and dissemination of gender disaggregated data;
– Adoption of an IORA framework for responsible tourism;
– Social empowerment through acknowledgement of the complex interaction of gender roles, responsibilities & norms on women’s economic empowerment.
The event offered a unique opportunity to be involved in idea formation and contribute to dialogue intended to be presented to our Ministers. Emily found the event to be an incredibly valuable experience, she and the rest of the team at EA are interested to see how key points will be addressed.
A full report on the event outcomes will be released in the coming weeks.
(Pictured: Emily with Natasha Stott Despoja AM, Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls)