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Women, economic (in)equality and patriarchal embeddedness in Nepali tourism
conference contributionposted on 25.06.2020, 00:00 by Wendy HillmanWendy Hillman, Kylie RadelKylie Radel
Historically, females in Nepal are disregarded, subjugated and isolated by caste and class. They endure discrimination and abuse in their family situations and throughout society (Yadav, 2016). Patriarchy is entrenched in their culture and in the tourism sector. Patriarchal entrenchment is overcome by Nepali females through the use of personal accomplishment and small enterprise development (Hillman, 2019; Hillman & Radel, 2018; Radel & Hillman, 2018). Females are able to recapture influence via the sale of their labour power and empower themselves to set up entrepreneurial production within the tourism and hospitality industry. Nepali women entrepreneurs were interviewed at their workplaces. Various participants had commenced their own enterprises so as to acquire a sustainable income for themselves, their families and communities. Of the participants, many were leaders of their family units, and many had caring roles for elderly parents and other family members as well. Many of the women also managed a number of other roles – including : child raising and household duties; managing their small farms to support their subsistence living; labouring in other agricultural smallholdings - including reaping crops, tending animals and trading any surplus where possible. When they began their tourism enterprise, they also managed all the business administration, finances and workforce for their business. The research established several stratagems used by Nepali females to surmount the dispiriting social formations. They rose above the normalised aggression perpetrated by male co-workers (see Sharma & Tamang, 2016). At the same time, taking into account the risks, females established tourism initiatives affording affirmative prospects for themselves in order to connect with other populations and realise their voice and agency in a sphere that has essentially been suppressed. Previously, females employed in this area were more disposed towards household tasks (Sony, 2012). That inclination is shifting. Females in our research have developed as entrepreneurs, hotel proprietors, guides and porters. They grasped opportunities to partake in the production and trade of souvenirs through emergent women’s cooperatives and cottage industries. To inspire themselves and extend livelihoods to others, the women sought to hire other women from comparable situations. Women’s abilities, skills and customarily compliant positions are now conquering entrenched patriarchy.