Evelyn is a tour guide in Kenya, a rare job for a woman in a country that despite years of progress continues to pay little more than lip service to gender equality and equal opportunities in the work place. In fact, Evelyn puts it quite bluntly when she says, “Looking at the tourist industry in Kenya, women are treated as second class to their male counterparts, despite having apt skills and knowledge, often more than [said] counterparts. They face prejudice and are frustrated in terms of remuneration and career growth.” Many women study for years, securing diplomas and degrees in sought-after fields such as food production and tour guiding, only to find themselves working as “booking agents, cleaners, receptionists and secretaries”.
Evelyn herself has experienced how many senior roles are simply handed to men on the basis of gendered expectations – the assumption that women will be better placed in domestic roles whilst the men have the authority and strength to be decision-makers. After growing increasingly frustrated at her old job, a role in which, Evelyn says, she was consistently overlooked for workshop places and promotions in favour of her male colleagues, she decided to take a chance. She found a job with local tour operator Adventure Alternative, an employer who values performance and individuality and supports each employee in achieving their personal best. After having previously studied tour guiding, Evelyn is finally back in the front seat, one of only a handful of female guides working alongside men in this area. She’s loving her work, she’s enjoying the challenge and – most importantly – she feels valued as a woman and an employee. Her story is another example of how often women find themselves at a disadvantage in the workplace, and how they have to #BeBoldForChange