• Annapurna
  • Bardia
  • Bhada Village
  • Chitwan
  • Illam
  • Nagarkot
  • Nuwakot
  • Palpa
  • Panauti
  • Patan
  • Patlekhet
  • Rasuwa
  • AT HOME IN NEPAL
    AT HOME IN NEPAL
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How Tourism is Helping to Close the Gender Gap in Nepal

How Tourism is Helping to Close the Gender Gap in Nepal

by Kelley Louise in Nepal

Sitting on a living room floor, I’m learning to make yomaris – a traditional Nepalese desert specific to the Newar community in Nepal. I'm visiting Panauti, an off-the-beaten-path town located just southeast of Kathmandu. My teacher is an experienced cook, and also the grandmother of the family whose home I’m staying in. She laughs in a kindhearted way at my slightly lopsided desserts, and moves with proficiency and speed to adjust them. Bonding with the family over cooking is a heartwarming and memorable component of my trip to Nepal – but it’s also a part of a much grander picture: one in which travel is acting as a force to close the gender gap.

In Nepal, women often play a behind-the-scenes role in society. Husbands – the traditional breadwinners of the family – go out and work (mostly in agriculture), and women stay home to care for their families, acting as caregivers, housecleaners and craftswomen for all of the family’s needs. Due to these roles, women’s voices are often disregarded in terms of how much say they have in societal issues. Especially in more rural communities, women face even greater problems – whether that be prejudice, lack of education or gender-based violence.

But there is hope, and it comes in the form of something as simple as a traveler’s lodging choice. Under the umbrella of Royal Mountain Travel, a locally-run tourism company, is a program called CommunityHomestay – a network of family-run homestays throughout Nepal. The program is run predominantly by women, and acts as a beautiful example of how tourism can empower. By providing women with the platform and resources to launch and manage homestay programs in their communities, they are suddenly armed with the ability to financially support themselves – giving them the confidence to claim equal rights.

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