Women in Tourism Fellowship

Supporting more women in tourism in Pakistan
Summer 2021

Demand for women-led travel is rising, but only 3.2% of tourism professionals in Pakistan are women.

To address this gender imbalance in Pakistan’s tourism industry, we’re launching the Women in Tourism Fellowship.

The Women in Tourism Fellowship will supplement the skills and knowledge of recent graduates and young professionals to further support their goals within the tourism sector.

Root Network will provide practical training to ensure women are well-prepared to succeed in the industry, and mentorship opportunities to create a network of support as women grow professionally.

Goals
  • Increase participation of women in tourism 
  • Increase skills necessary for guiding, hospitality management, and entrepreneurship
  • Build confidence through networking and practical training
  • Connect women with mentors and industry opportunities

Tourism provides better opportunities for women’s workforce participation, entrepreneurship, and leadership than other economic sectors.

Main activities

The Women in Tourism Fellowship aims to engage new graduates and young professionals within the industry. We seek to achieve long-term impacts for our participants through multi-week training and post-training supports including:

In-person training

Immersive workshops for female graduates and young professionals to build knowledge and understanding of industry as a whole.

Practical implementation

Practical work experience through in-field exercises and trial tours (paid internships) to reinforce learning and build confidence.

Community forums

Co-development of participant-led community forums post-training to foster support and buy-in from family and community members.

Mentorship

Create a network of support for women in the industry by pairing participants with more experienced professionals in the industry for ongoing mentorship and guidance.

Industry networking

Ongoing connection of participants with potential employers and opportunities for entrepreneurship to increase access to market. Co-develop long-term solutions to increase economic and professional opportunities.

Want to support this program?

Interest in women-run trips increased by 58% in 2019.

Pakistani women in tourism need more support.

In June 2020, we launched our pilot project supporting tourism professionals in Gilgit-Baltistan as they navigated impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 190 professionals from 12 tourism hotspots were trained in COVID safety… but  only 5.4% of participants were women.

For Root Network’s next project, our hope is to address the lack of women’s representation in Pakistan’s tourism industry while responding to needs identified by the community during the training sessions, including: 

  • Industry-specific training
  • Support in accessing larger market base
  • Financial support
  • Networking support from experienced professionals

Post-COVID-19, with the revival of Pakistan’s tourism industry, there’s a great deal of opportunity that women can benefit from with adequate support. Our team interviewed women currently working in or studying tourism and hospitality to design the Women in Tourism Fellowship to provide these supports in the long-term. 

The Women in Tourism Fellowship will build off skills and knowledge of new female graduates and young industry professionals to further support their goals within the sector. We will collaborate with local partners to conduct multi-week tourism trainings to ensure women are well-prepared to succeed in the tourism industry, and mentorship opportunities to establish support networks as women grow in their careers.

Lastly, as the barriers Pakistani women face cannot be addressed in isolation, our hope is to initiate participant-led community forums to address larger systemic issues that women face in the industry and community.

Female tour guide serving lunch in Astore, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan

Travel and tourism have been proven to provide women with more opportunities for empowerment compared to other industries, giving the sector increased responsibility for the advancement of women.

World Bank, Women and Tourism: Designing for Inclusion
Female tour guide serving lunch in Astore, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan

Travel and tourism have been proven to provide women with more opportunities for empowerment compared to other industries, giving the sector increased responsibility for the advancement of women.

World Bank, Women and Tourism: Designing for Inclusion

Interested in supporting this program?