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Champions for Gender Equality: Introducing Equality in Tourism’s New Trustees

Jaklien van Melick and Dr. Yasmin Begum transition from volunteers to trustees in our latest organisational update, poised to drive forward Equality in Tourism International’s mission for equality in the global tourism industry.

Equality in Tourism Team

In a significant organisational update that we are eager to share, Equality in Tourism International (EiT) is pleased to introduce two outstanding individuals, Jaklien van Melick and Dr. Yasmin Begum as our new trustees. With their dedication and passion for gender equality and sustainable transformation, Jaklien and Yasmin are poised to help the team elevate EiT’s vision and mission to new heights.

Jaklien van Melick: A Visionary of Sustainable Transformation

Jaklien’s journey with Equality in Tourism International began in July 2022, ignited by an unwavering commitment to cultivate a tourism sector that is both sustainable and equitable. With an extensive track record spanning more than two decades within the travel industry, Jaklien possessed a keen understanding of the imperative for the sector to transition towards a future defined by sustainability and equity. However, she observed that conversations about this transformation often omitted a crucial aspect: gender equality. This realisation stoked her resolve to align herself with a transformative organisation like EiT, where the central tenet of the vision was to engender a tourism industry that is not only just and equitable but also intrinsically woven with gender equality. 

Since her induction into EiT, Jaklien has been an important asset. Her profound industry insights culminated in her role as the project manager for our inaugural Gender Equality Champion of the Year Award in the tourism and hospitality sectors. This prestigious award is a tribute to trailblazers in the industry who are leading the way towards a gender-balanced world. Its primary goal is to stimulate progress and acknowledge achievements, urging tourism enterprises to embed gender equality into their policies and practices. Jaklien’s indispensable contributions ensured the resounding success of this endeavour during 2022-2023, and she continues to infuse the organisation with her expertise, strategies, and passion.

Jaklien continues in her role as the steward of the Award; however, now, as a trustee, she is also empowered to channel her knowledge into guiding the organisation’s trajectory and propelling its mission forward. As we persist in our advocacy for a more equitable and sustainable tourism industry, Jaklien’s insights will play a crucial role in shaping the organisation’s direction. 

Dr. Yasmin Begum: Illuminating Insights for Gender Equality

Yasmin embarked on her involvement with Equality in Tourism International almost a year ago, driven by her passion for gender equality and her aspiration to contribute to the betterment of women in marginalised communities. With a specialisation in gender and decolonial identity, Yasmin has been a dedicated educator in higher education. Her background showcases a wealth of academic rigour and a profound commitment to advancing gender equality. Also armed with a Masters degree in International Journalism, Yasmin’s scholarly foundation forms the bedrock for her advocacy and research-driven approach to catalysing change.

Yasmin’s journey within Equality in Tourism began as a research specialist and lead writer for our Insights initiative. This critical endeavour distills the intricacies of academic research into accessible formats, extending its reach beyond academia and engaging a wider audience. Over time, Yasmin’s role expanded, encompassing strategy and planning for various projects. She is positioned as a champion for transparency, awareness, and actionable change within the complex terrain of the tourism industry. It was only a natural progression for Yasmin to become a trustee.

Looking forward, Yasmin’s contributions to EiT are poised to illuminate new pathways to gender equality within the tourism industry. Her multifaceted approach, blending academic insights with practical engagement, embodies the spirit of transformation that EiT champions. In Yasmin’s words, “We can and should be ambitious in our goals and not shy away from that.” This unwavering commitment is a driving force behind her role as a trustee, as she helps steer EiT toward a future where systemic inequalities are challenged, and lasting change is embraced.

A Forward-Looking Journey

In the words of Jaklien and Yasmin, their roles as trustees symbolise an opportunity to ignite meaningful change. As Yasmin affirms, “Being on the Board allows me to contribute to the goal of forging change and encouraging long-lasting impact,” a sentiment Jaklien echoes. Their induction into the board of trustees marks a pivotal moment in the journey of Equality in Tourism International, infusing it with fresh perspectives, heightened dedication, and unwavering commitment.

As we celebrate Jaklien and Yasmin stepping into their roles as trustees, we are reminded of the power of passionate individuals united by a common purpose. Their journey from volunteers to trustees embodies the spirit of proactive change-making and serves as an inspiration to all who strive for a more equitable world. Through their unwavering dedication, EiT’s mission gains new momentum, paving the way for a future where gender equality and sustainable transformation define the landscape of the tourism industry.