This year’s Royal Geographical Society conference theme was “Nexus Thinking” – to address the interdependencies, tensions and trade-offs between different environmental and social domains. Six papers were presented in the gender and tourism session – click here to access them.

The papers were broad ranging including: an examination of the gendering of the cruising experience for ocean cruise passengers, both on board and at the destinations visited; gendered representations of women in Tunisia, in and by the tourism industry, and how different sectors of the represented population view the images and texts used to commercialise their identity. Two papers picked on the theme of empowerment, one explored how social embeddedness empowers and/or disempowers women social entrepreneurs in the hospitality industry; the other examined processes of empowerment linked to the notions of power, agency, economic advancement and social recognition, and how women producers and vendors of pottery in Metepec, Mexico, are asserting the preservation of pottery traditions, obtaining financial autonomy and demanding more spaces for participation in decision-making processes at the household and community levels.


Our director, Stroma Cole presented on the gender-water-tourism nexus based on her recent research in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia, highlighting the needs to pay close attention to both the specific context and trajectory of tourism development while conducting an analysis of intersecting inequalities such as gender, age, nationality and ethnicity in order to map the impact of tourism-based water issues. She found patriarchal cultural norms, ethnicity, socio-economic status, life-stage and proximity to water sources are intertwined to (re)produce gendered power relations. While there is heterogeneity of lived experiences, in the most part tourism is out competing locals for access to water leading to women suffering in multiple ways.

For the full paper check back here soon or view the initial policy report here.