In the vibrant canvas of exploration, this inquiry ventures into the heart of Colombia's tourism tapestry, seeking to unravel the intricate threads that weave the question: Can tourism be a catalyst for the empowerment of women? Here, the case study unfolds like a captivating story, each chapter revealing the empowering potential within Colombian tourism's dynamic landscapes and narratives.
The Gender Inequality Index scored Colombia 90 out of 162 countries, which is a ratio of female to male development and their role in society (UNDP, 2017). Among the factors assessed for the inequality index, women's economic development or financial independence is also considered (UNDP, 2019). The low score of Colombia in the report can be attributed to the discrepancy present in Colombian society for women to become economically independent.
Therefore, providing an enabling environment for women to be empowered economically and socially is important. Madan, Gulyani, and Benson (2014) believe that entrepreneurship is an effective tool for women, as it increases their status in society, economically, socially, and even within their family circle. Among entrepreneurship opportunities for women, the tourism industry is a lucrative option due to its growing market and increasing revenue generation. This study will investigate whether tourism is a vehicle for women's empowerment in case study of Colombia to provide effective recommendations for improving women’s standing in society.
Through opportunities for entrepreneurship, the tourism industry is considered an option for people to become economically stable for both men and women (Movono and Dahles, 2017). The progress in the economy of the local community results in better financial prospects for its entire population. Regarding women's involvement, de Groot et al. (2017) have highlighted that business ownership and active participation in the decision-making of economic activities can result in empowered Colombian women. As women attain financial means to support themselves and their families, their status grows within society.
However, Mahe (2015) adds that Colombia has been a conflict zone for years, severely impacting its people and economic development. This, in turn, has affected the country's tourism industry as well, as tourists are not attracted to visit a country engulfed in war. However, another study by McClanahan, Parra, and Brisman (2019) adds that economic and political stability has been brought to the country since the end of the conflict through a peace treaty in 2016. The study concludes that the country has a lot of potential in terms of ecotourism if it ensures stable growth, both financially and in terms of human development. Women in Colombia can use this potential for their personal economic growth, uplifting the country and its female population.
Literature present on women empowerment in Colombia mostly focuses on incorporating innovative measures to achieve a greater role for women and empower them (Pineda, Piniero, and Ramírez, 2019; Cendales-Jiménez, 2017). In these studies, innovation in agricultural practices and the increased role of matriarchs are focused on providing empowerment tools for the female population. However, the variable of entrepreneurial activities for women is usually not discussed. In this study, women's empowerment will be focused on through the perspective of entrepreneurship and probable opportunities for women in terms of tourism. Moreover, research in the context of the Colombian tourism industry usually focuses on environmental degradation and ecotourism (McClanahan, Parra, and Brisman, 2019). The role of Colombia’s armed conflict in degrading its tourism industry is also well-researched, along with suggestions for future improvement (Bassols, 2016). However, the implications of conflict on women and suggestions for women's empowerment through the tourism industry are not discussed. For this particular study, the variables of women empowerment, entrepreneurship, and the tourism industry of Colombia will all be analyzed in a singular prospect. This analysis will help formulate effective recommendations for women to play a greater part in Colombia’s development through tourism and improve their prospects in society.
The aim of this research is to explore women empowerment opportunities through tourism entrepreneurial activities by focusing on the specific case of Colombia. The objectives of conducting are given as follows:
The prevalence of war in the country and cultural norms that enforce patriarchy have made life for women in Colombia hard. The research conducted by Hynes et al. (2016) discusses that social norms and structural barriers in the legislative system force women to stay in abusive homes with violent partners. The situation worsens due to the region's widespread conflict, which has exposed the most vulnerable parts of society to violence. Wirtz et al. (2018) have highlighted the use of Gender Based Violence (GBV) in the Colombian conflict, under which women are kidnapped, raped and even murdered without any repercussions for the criminals. With the prevalence of GBV and a culture that enslaves women under patriarchy, it becomes impossible for women to raise their voices against injustices and solidify their role in a progressive society. Moreover, as noted by de Groot et al. (2017), the tourism industry of Colombia is a growing economic sector that provides various opportunities for entrepreneurs. Therefore, this research is being conducted for the women of Colombia to explore and identify opportunities for their economic and social elevation.
This research aims to draw conclusive results and provide effective recommendations for women's empowerment in Colombia’s tourism entrepreneurship industry. The study comprises five chapters, each containing relevant information about the topic. In chapter 1 of the introduction, an overview of the topic is given, along with the aim and objectives of conducting the research. The rationale for conducting the study is given in this chapter, as the problem statement is discussed. Chapter two illustrates relevant literature on the topic of tourism, entrepreneurship, and women empowerment. This chapter discusses a theoretical framework in-depth, and current trends in Colombia's tourism industry are also discussed. Chapter three is written on methodology, which discusses research philosophy that sets the path for the entire research process. The chapter contains information on data collection, research strategy, and data analysis. In chapter four, findings are emphasized and discussed in detail to draw out conclusive results from the data that has been gathered. In the final chapter of the conclusion, research questions are answered, and recommendations are given to improve the social standing of Colombian women through entrepreneurship.
A literature review for the investigation of "Tourism as a Vehicle for Women's Empowerment in Colombia" involves examining existing research and studies about how tourism can empower women in this specific context.
According to a study carried out by Cornwall (2016), the importance relating to women's empowerment was elaborated in an extensive manner. Women's empowerment is perceived to be an integral element of society and caters to giving women their basic rights. Apart from this, empowering women serves as a means to eradicate unemployment and recognize women's capabilities. One such industry that can provide the basis for women's empowerment is the tourism industry. The tourism industry can provide several employment opportunities to women. This research study focuses on and particularly questions women's empowerment through tourism entrepreneurship opportunities among Colombian women.
According to a study carried out by How (2017), the phenomenon pertaining to the critical theory was elaborated in an extensive manner. Critical theory caters to issues and concerns relating to society. These include power justice issues and address the fact that the social system is formulated based on gender, race, economy, class, education, religion, and certain ideologies. The critical theory was evaluated to focus on situations occurring in the real world and is observed to consider the individuals' behavioral patterns, thoughts, and attitudes. However, it was argued that the Critical theory is subjective and is substantially dependent on the social values only. Critical theory was also found to be linked to women's empowerment as the concept of both women's empowerment and critical theory relates to factors of society (How, 2017).
According to a study carried out by Ferguson (2017), the phenomenon pertaining to feminist theory was elaborated in an extensive manner. The feminist theory integrates a vast array of social concerns and issues that are being faced by women in society. These issues comprise fewer opportunities for women in public and private domains, patriarchal institutions, sexual harassment and exploitation, childcare and religion, and lack of support from the family (Suárez, Mosquera, and Castillo, 2018). However, it was argued extensively that the Feminist theory had devised a certain confusion relating to the misbalance of the two sexes and placing more advantages towards women only (Ferguson, 2017).
The term “women empowerment” is described as the procedure of empowering women by Cornwall (2016). The author further cites that empowerment can be carried out in diverse ways, with the main aspect being that women should be allowed to take and make decisions. There are numerous countries where women are still discriminated against because of their gender. Sharma and Varma (2016) cite that in multiple scenarios, women are not given their rights, are paid less, and are expected to do just the household chores. For some men, a woman's life should revolve around the house itself.
Rasal (2019) cites that women who can work are not allowed in decision-making. This kind of approach is what degrades women further. In every organization, there is a need to ensure that women are given the right to be part of the decision-making process. However, Maguire et al. (2016) believe that women empowerment is not successful in many countries or in many business fields because they are not given the authority to make decisions. The author additionally states in such situations, men believe that women do not have the capability to take or make decisions. Moreover, if they are made part of the decision-making process, they usually do not consider the criticality of the situation and make decisions based on what situation they see in front of them.
The term tourism entrepreneur is described as an individual who has the ability to take a risk to set up their own business. The risk can be either profitable or it can be a complete failure. As the focus here is on tourism entrepreneurship, the individual would start up his business in the tourism industry. Wang, Hung, and Huang (2019) state that it is important for the tourism entrepreneur to have a clear idea about the type of tourism work he plans on doing. This would help him in setting up his business in the right manner. The idea here is the focus is on the people. However, Fu et al. (2019) believe the tourism industry does not solely focus on the people. Other stakeholders also need to be considered by the tourism entrepreneur, which would help make the business successful.
People in the industry can carry out different tourism entrepreneurship opportunities. Kimbu and Ngoasong (2016) state that lodging is one of the tourism entrepreneurship opportunities. The hospitality market is on the rise, which increases the demand for non-traditional lodging. In the tourism industry, lodging plays a critical role as people would need to need a place to stay during their travel. In some scenarios, hotels tend to suffice the purpose, while in some cases, leasing homes, condos, and apartments can also be acquired. However, Peeters and Ateljevic (2017), Uber and Lyft. Movono and Dahles (2017) believe knowing the type of consumers one serves is important. This helps ensure that the appropriate lodging medium, be it a hotel or an apartment, is considered.
Maguire et al. (2016) and Vujko et al. (2019) believe that diverse tourism entrepreneurship opportunities exist within the country that can help with the cause of women empowerment. The tourism industry basically thrives on numerous aspects, apart from ride-sharing and lodging (Sharma and Varma, 2016); Panta and Thapa, 2018). Women empowerment can also be carried out through the use of ecotourism as to Kapoor and Bora (2018) and Al-Shami et al. (2017), the prospect of ecotourism is that it helps in promoting community development, which would allow women to become aware of local communities.
However, Ateljevic and Li (2017) are of the view that ecotourism is just now about having an analysis about having an idea about the physical environment. Various other factors must be considered that women have no idea of. These factors assess the environmental situation and decide which businesses are suitable to open up in the tourism industry (Ateljevic and Page, 2017; Aghajani Afrouzi and Alizadeh, 2017). These basic areas prove that women are not fit to be part of the tourism industry or even given support for women's empowerment.
The travel industry as a business is known for creating opportunities for local communities (Hartwell et al., 2018). Khanna (2018) agreed and stated that this service-oriented industry creates a lot of benefits for the people, society, and the country. Mahadevan and Suardi (2019) found that the travel industry diminishes poverty yet improves income. The travel industry business has encouraged entrepreneurs, specifically women with weak financial backgrounds, to earn and improve their standards of living (Sheldon and Daniele, 2017). Serafimova and Petrevska (2018) added that tourism entrepreneurship shows that the rate of female entrepreneurship is less than male entrepreneurship in every EU nation. Volkmann, Goia, and Hadad (2018) agreed and stated that the greatest contrast is found in Ireland, Sweden, and Denmark and the most reduced in Luxembourg, Columbia, and Portugal. Studies show that, in general, tourism-based entrepreneurship firms owned by women develop quicker than different firms. In the long term, women-owned entrepreneurial firms have positive effects, prompting more employment opportunities, which helps empower other women (Peeters and Ateljevic, 2017).
Tourism entrepreneurship improvement has affected gender-orientated jobs and relations, particularly among the unprivileged local communities, in social and financial terms (Zapalska and Brozik, 2017). Boateng (2018) agreed with this and stated that in spite of the fact that the influence may give off an impression of having too little impact on the empowerment of the local women, it is really huge to the women themselves because a large number of them become entrepreneurs. Henry, Foss, and Ahl (2016) discussed the role of gender and women's empowerment in tourism entrepreneurship, regardless of whether the travel industry has advanced or not.
Zhou, Chan, and Song (2017) discussed that women should be involved in the early stages of the development of tourism entrepreneurship. Women should also be involved in choosing the ideal types of travel industry advancement and disseminating the travel industry expenses and advantages among the various partners since empowering women should not simply be viewed as a potential result (Scheyvens and Biddulph, 2018). The research of Kumar and Usmani (2016) and Platonova and Gény (2017) regarding women empowerment and the travel industry clarified the nexus between women empowerment and the travel industry, accentuating that it is a social development procedure. The idea of women empowerment and its connection to the more extensive issues of tourism entrepreneurship advancement and improvement of the local community positively features the impression of women empowerment (Prada et al. 2019; Digan et al. 2019).
Tourism entrepreneurship draws in visitors with new supportable travel industry exercises at the same time, guarantees positive effects for nearby businesses and local communities (Sofronov, 2017; Marasco et al., 2018) stated that the increased number of tourists in Colombia use the local services and products and in this manner support the local businesses. Adongo, Taale, and Adam (2018) agreed with this and added that by buying local products, they gain a better understanding and compassion for the region, its people, and its culture. From a global relational point of view, the familiarity created by guests visiting Colombia from around the globe can bring a sense of sympathy for that country through their encounters as guests (Niño-Torres, 2019; Alrawadieh, Karayilan, and Cetin, 2019). According to (Yousafzai et al., 2018; and Drayton and Gabriel, 2016), the point when numerous global guests have built up these basic positive encounters may positively affect Colombian entrepreneurs.
According to the Global Economy (2020), in Colombia, by 2007, 51.1% of ladies had joined the workforce; in 2015, this value increased to 59.25%, and in 2019 it reached 58.61%. The women in Colombia have gradually entered into tourism-based businesses, such as selling Colombian local ingredients to tourists (Thimm, 2019; Stephan, 2018). The advantages of the travel industry work, regardless of whether in the formal or informal segment, will generally be introduced in gender-neutral ways. However, the tourism entrepreneurship opportunities in Colombia are exceptionally limited for the women there. The opportunities provided by tourism entrepreneurship have been helpful to Colombian men and highlight a gender-based imbalance (Cano and Tabares, 2018). Macías-Prada et al. (2019) agreed and added that this pushes Colombian female tourism entrepreneurs to work globally at low rates and in non-favored conditions.
Regarding women empowerment through the travel industry with certain positive features of women entrepreneurship, the research would be beneficial in the more extensive setting of social, financial, and psychological aspects. Through the travel industry, women have developed self-confidence in working and handling family and societal issues. Through the travel industry, women were engaged mentally and became ideal for other women in their community. Significantly, this can prompt a chain impact in which other women follow these women and become entrepreneurs. Moreover, through the travel industry, women illustrated pride in tradition and culture while revitalizing life and customs in the community. The tourism industry changes the financial conditions of women from an unprivileged background by providing opportunities for employment, which helps increase their self-respect and pride in themselves.
Learn about the methodology is used in study below.
The three research philosophies that are most commonly utilized by researchers while executing their research studies comprise positivism, interpretivism, and realism. According to a study by Ryan (2018), the concept pertaining to the positivist research philosophy was elaborated extensively. It was evaluated that the positivist research paradigm constitutes a vast array of general findings incorporated with scientific research implications. However, in a study carried out by Žukauskas, Vveinhardt, and Andriukaitienė (2018), it was argued that apart from the positivism research paradigm, there also exists the research paradigm pertaining to the interpretivism research philosophy. It was evaluated that studies that integrate interpretivism research philosophy cater to the behavioral patterns and attitudes of the individuals. In this study, the researcher has used the interpretivism research paradigm. The primary reasons for selecting this research paradigm are its ability to observe how society exhibits certain meanings and negotiations and cater to unique individuals' experiences. The secondary reason for this is that the researcher intends to integrate human interest in the research and utilize the uniqueness of the various conclusions derived from the various literature for building a conclusion for the study.
According to a study by Leavy (2017), the concepts relating to the most commonly used research design methods were elaborated extensively. It was evaluated that the two most common research design methods utilized by researchers in carrying out their studies include the quantitative and qualitative research designs. As per the study of Leavy (2017), qualitative research design was described as a process of accumulating non-numerical information. This data is usually collected via observations, participation, and individual interviews. However, in a study carried out by Rahi (2017), it was argued that apart from the qualitative research design, the researchers also utilized the quantitative research design. The quantitative research design aims to collect measurable data that can be input, analyzed, and evaluated by mathematical and statistical formulas. The researcher utilized the qualitative research design method as it helped analyze the outcomes in greater detail and created an openness that expanded the individual’s responses. These open-ended details provide greater scope for interpretation of the collected data relevant to the research topic as the qualitative research design provides more realistic descriptions of the issues discussed in this research, which cannot be gathered using a quantitative approach.
According to a study carried out by Opie (2019), emphasis was placed on the research approaches used by researchers while executing research studies. These include the deductive and inductive research approaches. The deductive research approach was evaluated as a process that caters to developing a hypothesis based on existing theory, while the inductive research approach starts with initializing particular observations, and theories are proposed towards the end of the research execution (Opie, 2019). In this study, the researcher utilized the inductive research approach. One major reason for using an inductive research approach is that the identified factors that influence women empowerment related to opportunities for Colombian women within the tourism industry can be implemented and generalized to other industries as well. In inductive research, various probabilities can be explored based on the data that has been collected. In the context of this study on Colombian women, inductive reasoning is justified due to the presence of variables of tourism and entrepreneurship, which helps the researcher identify all probable answers. Consequently, as all probabilities are explored, the conclusions drawn also ensure the continuation of research.
The data collection process is broadly categorized into two types: primary data collection and secondary data collection. White (2018) describes primary collection as gathering new information on a particular topic through surveys or interviews. Secondary data collection is defined as using existing data on relevant information and molding it to answer a study’s research questions. For this study, the researcher has applied secondary data collection. In secondary data collection, the researcher can review several sources of information, like articles, newspapers, government sites, books, journals, and other valid sources. The justification for using the secondary data collection method is that it allows the scanning of massive amounts of information, which can be achieved from various sources, from public to private forums. Such a collection allows the researcher to analyze vast amounts of data that they themselves would not have been able to amass or would have taken years of intensive labor. Moreover, Johnston (2017) adds that in secondary data collection, a realistic time limit can be set for the research process, which makes it time-efficient and cost-effective for the researcher. Secondary data collection is not only convenient but also a powerful tool for research purposes. It allows the researcher to be critical in choosing what to add and remove from the sample pool. This increases the conclusions’ and findings' validity and reliability, which makes it relevant for the field and other research. To summarise, the current research is carried out by collecting secondary data from authentic and relevant sources while focusing on presenting qualitative findings through content analysis.
The inclusion and exclusion criteria of research are based on previously established functions of the research articles created by the researchers for recognizing the pattern that can help them include the desired research article that fits the inclusion criteria and reject those that are declined by the exclusion criteria. In the current market analysis and economic research, certain inclusion and exclusion criteria depend on components like gender, age, and experience. The following table explains the exclusion and inclusion criteria of the current research.
Table 2: Inclusion Exclusion Criteria.
|Issues||Reason for inclusion||Reason for exclusion|
|Year of publishing (Journal articles)||Research articles reviewed from 2013 to 2019. Such inclusion for the research articles was made because the study wants to analyze the current situation of Women's empowerment with tourism opportunities in a country like Colombia.||The research articles before 2013 were excluded from the research as those articles were not supported by explaining the progress made in the tourism sector of Colombia after the implication of women empowerment.|
|Discussion of findings||In the current research, only those articles were included that have no biases towards gender inequality in their discussion and findings and support the implication of women empowerment through tourism opportunities in Colombia.||The research articles that were excluded from addiction in the discussion of findings were based on displaying gender inequality and did not support women's empowerment through tourism opportunities.|
|Area of purpose||The chosen purpose of the research was to investigate the fact that tourism is the key to women's empowerment for Colombian females. Therefore, the research includes articles that discuss women's involvement in Columbia's tourism industry.||Some research articles do not cover the developed purpose of the current research. Therefore, those articles were excluded from the research.|
The method of data analysis depends on the nature of the data collected for the research and the method through which it is collected (Tracy, 2019). The secondary information gathered utilizing research literature for the recent research was examined utilizing content analysis (Johnston, 2017). Content analysis is a technique utilized for examining, recognizing, and extracting required data from the existing literature (Vaismoradi et al., 2016). The research of Tracy (2019) indicated that the technique of content analysis emphasizes the critical arguments of multiple authors based on the phenomena from which the researcher can provide thorough perceptions. The content analysis will be utilized in this research to gather the data from the multiple perspectives discussed regarding the multiple research papers revolving around tourism as the source for women's empowerment. This analysis is also utilized due to the nature of the qualitative data, as content analysis is a significantly powerful tool to determine the presence of variables, themes, and concepts extracted from the collected qualitative data. Additionally, the content analysis allows a researcher to present logical findings through various perceptions that give an expanded view of the studied phenomena. Also, the content analysis technique enables a study to evaluate various views to form a single judgment on the phenomena being studied.
Two fundamental ethical considerations are particularly important during a content analysis of research literature (Pietilä et al., 2020). The first important ethical consideration is avoiding plagiarism, while the second ethical consideration is properly crediting the authors' work (Sternberg, 2018). Firstly, the material needed was collected for the research; this collection was done according to the research questions and the research objectives. A documented list was developed, holding the material's information, the author's name, and the proper reference detail. This was also a way to eradicate the chance of any confusion in crediting the work of the authors referred to in the study. Secondly, it was ensured that the data which was collected from the research material was properly rephrased; this practice guaranteed that there was no issue of plagiarism in the study, which ensured the validity and authenticity of the research.
The limitations of this research include adopting a secondary data collection process. This can be attributed to the fact that secondary data collection may be cost-effective, but the relevancy and authenticity of the collected data are extremely important for the validity of the research. Therefore, the researcher needs to be careful in gathering content for the field of study and during its analysis. If the primary data collection process were employed for this study, through interviews or survey questionnaires, the researcher would be more factual, and conclusions would be of higher quality. The study of Greener (2018) further clarifies that stress, expenditures, time management issues, and emotional strain are a few limitations experienced during the research process. During the research process for this study, the researcher faced these limitations that may have affected data collection and analysis. Moreover, the scope of the study is also limited, as only women empowerment in Colombia has been studied in the context of tourism entrepreneurship opportunities. If the research area were increased to Colombia’s neighboring countries like Venezuela or Ecuador and other Central American countries were included, which have similar political and economic conditions, then research would have a more conclusive result.
Figure out the analysis and findings of study below.
The previous developed chapter explains the methods that are used in the collection and analysis of the collected data in an effective manner. The current chapter explains the findings from the collected data with the use of the technique that was mentioned in the previous chapter. The previous chapter explains the conducting of secondary data research through the use of research articles and discusses their findings with the help of content analysis. The developed content analysis of the literature related to the topic of women empowerment with the help of tourism activities. The developed research topic discusses the concept with special reference to Colombia and its tourism activities that the country's women perform.
The use of content analysis can be beneficial for the researchers in examining any recorded occurrence in writing related to the discussed topic. In the current research, the content analysis will be made in terms of the literature review that can help the current researchers deduce their research results based on investigating women's empowerment with tourism activities they performed in Colombia.
According to the research of Cornwall (2016), the phenomenon of woman empowerment has been one of the prominent elements for the women of Colombia. A similar author added that woman empowerment is an action to uplift the role of women in modern society (Cornwall, 2016). Additionally, the research of Ferguson (2017) indicated that the campaigns on women's empowerment created a substantial number of opportunities for women residing in Colombia. Moreover, the study of Sharma and Varma (2016) supported the prior argument by stating that woman empowerment provided a newer perspective on identifying women's role in improving society's well-being rather than the conventional role of caretaking their beloved in the household. However, the research of Maguire, Ruelas, and Torre (2016) argued that woman empowerment in Colombia has been rising in recent years as women began working in the workplace after completing their education rather than becoming housewives. However, the research of Al-Shami et al. (2017) stated that woman empowerment in Columbia only benefitted women of the upper social class. The research of Kapoor and Bora (2018) highlighted that the government of Colombia has been playing a vital role in empowering the women in Columbia; the government provided start-up income to several women and families of Colombia to kick-start agriculture.
Furthermore, the study of Ferguson (2017) highlighted that the Peace Accord was conducted that boasted the phenomena of gender equality in Colombia due to the prominence of women's empowerment recognized by the government. Additionally, the study of Al-Shami et al. (2017) contemplated that woman empowerment allowed the women of Colombia to play an active role in developing rural areas of Colombia. While the study by Cornwall (2016) asserted that woman empowerment pushed women in Colombia to participate in political matters. However, the research of Ferguson (2017) considered the prominent role of women in eradicating illegal drugs in Colombia due to the increase in women empowerment in the nation. Similarly, the study by Sharma and Varma (2016) identified that the United Nations (UN) Verification Mission was introduced, which was inclined towards increasing the role of women in conflict resolution and negotiation. A similar researcher added that the UN Verification Mission comprises 48% women representatives and has successfully convinced the government of Colombia to empower the women residing in the state (Sharma and Varma, 2016). However, the research of Maguire, Ruelas, and Torre (2016) emphasized the lack of gender equality faced by women living in poor and rural areas of Colombia. A similar researcher added that the government of Colombia has to increase the priority of this issue and collaborate with the UN to eradicate the issue from the core (Maguirre, Ruelas, and Torre, 2016). Moreover, the research of Kapoor and Bora (2018) regarded that woman empowerment in Colombia has been progressing over the last 25 years as the role of women has been increasing in decision-making, formation of laws and policies against gender inequality, and participation in politics.
Tourism has helped many women make their earnings through tourism services and has acquired international recognition. However, certain challenges are experienced by Colombian women in terms of conflict-related threats and gender inequality. There have been several warnings from the tribes and the community heads functional in Colombia to practice gender equality in the country (Wang, Hung and Huang, 2019). These warnings had developed a level of conflict among the society and the body members. This conflict remains unresolved and develops challenges that threaten the implication of gender equality (Fu et al. 2019).
The first challenge Colombian women experience in attaining gender equality leading toward empowerment is related to the political establishment of Colombia. This means that the armed forces have control in the region, which impacts certain areas like government security and other political settlements that support women's empowerment (Fu et al. 2019). It is also noted that the Colombian Government has tried to conduct peace talks with such armed forces, but these peace talks have no results. This becomes a problem for the country to develop effective economic growth perspectives supporting female empowerment (Kimbu and Ngoasong 2016).
Another challenge that is experienced in bringing women empowerment in a country like Colombia is in the form of violence that is been experienced by the women of the country. It had been described by Movono and Dahles (2017) that around 70% of the women who are living in Colombia have experienced violence in different forms. These different forms of violence were in terms of physical, psychological, sexual, or in terms of political activities. The researchers also explain that Colombian women do not report the most violent cases so the numbers can increase. This silence from the women results from the constant pressure from the gender about cases of violence (Panta and Thapa 2018).
Another challenge that the women of Colombia experience in conducting women empowerment is based on the weakly developed constitutional rules and regulations. It is also explained by Vujko et al. (2019) that the women of Colombia experience a continued level of gender bias and, therefore, experience a formidable form of violence that becomes a challenge in attaining women's empowerment. Lastly, it is also observed by Hartwell et al. (2018) that the female politicians of the country did not support the women's movements that are conducted in the country to support women's empowerment in the country. This is because those female politicians prioritize party politics over the movement's support for women's empowerment.
It has been observed by Hartwell et al. (2018) that the engagement and participation of women in the tourism industry have increased in a couple of previous years. Explained by Serafimova and Petrevska (2018) that the Colombian tourism industry is making progress with the help of women entrepreneurs who are delivering their services to clients in a successful manner. It was also explained by Serafimova and Petrevska (2018) that certain factors had helped the women of Colombia in making progress toward increased revenue generation. These factors mainly belong to the micro and macro levels. The micro-level factors are the education and traveling experience of the women performing their tourism sector duties. The macro factors include opportunity seeking and resource acquisition for effectively delivering tourism services (Platonova and Gény 2017).
It is also explained by Zapalska and Brozik (2017) that the micro factors of education level and the traveling experience of the females can help them attain enough information about tourism activities that can make them self-sufficient for performing the operations in a successful manner. Further, the increased educational level and the level of experience can easily support the growth of the opportunities that can help the businesses make effective revenues that will support the empowerment of the females in the region (Zapalska and Brozik 2017). It was also discussed by Zhou, Chan, and Song (2017) that the factors that can also affect women's empowerment in a country like Colombia are based on the fiscal policy of the country, labor market characteristics, gender social norms, and other legal and social frameworks of doing business.
After the developed micro-factors of the education and the experience level of the women in tourism, the factors of fiscal policy and the labor market characteristics can help the women make effective decisions about the tourism business (Kumar and Usmani 2016). Such effective decisions about the tourism business can help women in a country like Colombia. Further, it is also mentioned that the gender social norms and other suggested legal frameworks play an important role in the working conditions of the females for conducting effective tourism practices that effectively support women's empowerment (Stephan 2018).
These legal frameworks include protecting the women delivering the country's tourism practices. Further, the legal framework supporting women's empowerment in the tourism industry is based on the social protection that is performed by the country's legal system, which also supports female empowerment (Henry, Foss, and Ahl 2016). It was also mentioned in the research that the developed fiscal policy of the country must be observed by the female entrepreneurs as the knowledge of the country's fiscal policy can increase the females' knowledge about the tax system and how to perform their reduction on the business activities. All of these mentioned factors have a significant impact on the attainment of female empowerment through tourism entrepreneurship (Zhou, Chan, and Song 2017).
Digan et al. (2019) described the fact that women's empowerment is basically limited by the thoughts of increase in the emphasis on individual responsibility and having the social reproduction of the information that has been supportive of the limiting impact on female empowerment on the tourism businesses for a long time in Colombia. This fact was supported by American research on women's empowerment through tourism practices (Adongo, Taale, and Adam, 2018). According to the study, the females doing tourism industry work completely neglect childcare and other parenting activities for their children. Such type of action from the women has reduced the importance of women's empowerment through tourism opportunities (Adongo, Taale, and Adam 2018).
It has also been discussed by CANO and TABARES (2018). even though this type of action is for women's empowerment through tourism opportunities, the researchers have identified that females can earn great revenues and support the growth of the economic activities in the region. It was also explained by Niño-Torres (2019) that these increased revenues earned by females are limited on the condition of the development of the economic infrastructure that can support the actual growth of female empowerment practices. It was also explained by Macías-Prada et al. (2019) that the issues raised by the social development of female workers through empowerment can be described as the practices performed by women looking for development opportunities in the future.
It was understood by Macías-Prada et al. (2019) that different feminist theories had been developed that support the fact that women's empowerment can be achieved by performing tourism activities. In this manner, females can easily help the economy move towards effective growth. Moreover, it is further discussed by Stephan (2018) that there is no agreed policy on the global level that supports the promotion and the successful delivery of women's empowerment through the opportunities of tourism activities. It is also explained to Stephan (2018) that many projects have supported the need for women's empowerment through tourism opportunities. However, the occurrence of these projects is not regular for the research material to be developed effectively. Different researchers also explain that gender equality and tourism development have always been discussed on the big platforms of the globe, but these statements do not support the growth of the tourism industry and women empowerment in the region of Colombia (Alrawadieh, Karayilan and Cetin 2019).
The discussion section critically analyzes the findings and implications of the study on women's empowerment through tourism in the Colombian context.
Women's empowerment has been conceptualized using different theories and other theoretical perspectives. It had been discussed by Zapalska and Brozik (2017) that the theoretical understanding of women's empowerment can be described as the women's ability to make such decisions that directly impact better outcomes for their families and themselves effectively. It is also discussed by Serafimova and Petrevska (2018) that women's empowerment also includes such decision-making ability to females so that they can easily make some strategic choices about work related to business and other home activities.
It was further stated by Panta and Thapa (2018) that the concept of women empowerment could be described as the power of women to alter such decisions that increase their self-righteousness and can easily enhance the autonomy of the females in influencing the decision-making processes. It is also discussed by Movono and Dahles (2017) that the empowerment of female can be supported through the feminist attitude towards the betterment of females as the empowerment process guide the females towards developing their thinking outside the system and can support the choices made by them in performing the actual business activities.
As discussed by Mahadevan and Suardi (2019), the main factors that generally impact women's empowerment through tourism entrepreneurship are based on a few factors: age, marital status, health, intra-household distribution, and participation in economic activities. It was further explained by Kimbu and Ngoasong (2016) that the females who have control over the resources of doing business do not include their practices towards women's empowerment. But their decisions are the result of women's empowerment. Owning the resources for doing business gives them an edge over business processes. It was also explained by Fu et al. (2019) that owning resources is the central theme to performing business activities, and hence, such power can easily be women empowerment.
Even though it is much more difficult for professionals to allocate the numbers to gender equality, it impacts women's empowerment. The researchers added that the data is required to measure the poverty level in the country. This is because poverty can become the main initiative for women's empowerment in countries like Colombia (Serafimova and Petrevska 2018).
Hartwell et al. (2018) explained that men and women are directly impacted by the tourism activities conducted in society. It was also further explained that the women working in the tourism industry are generally been exploring and communalizing the impact of the activities performed through tourism (Hartwell et al. 2018). It was further explained by Henry, Foss, and Ahl (2016) that women's empowerment through tourism opportunities can be performed when they indulge themselves in eco-tourism activities. It was also explained by Digan et al. (2019) that eco-tourism opportunities help females strengthen their abilities to make decisions that generally support the growth of their business.
Adongo, Taale, and Adam (2018) explained the fact that women had the power to negotiate their way through different situations. This ability of the females can easily help women practice empowerment in a manner that can support the growth of tourism activities when the females perform the activities. It was also discussed by CANO and TABARES (2018) that tourism activities can effectively enhance the empowerment level of women as the women will be involved in making decisions about the tourism projects and can have effective project settings that can help them increase the revenues for their families and for the government of Columbia.
The current chapter develops the content analysis of the selected research literature that was selected after following the inclusion and exclusion criteria of the research. It was analyzed in the content that the women of Colombia had great potential to become tourism entrepreneurs once they were provided with empowerment. It was established in the research that the women of Columbia needed empowerment as they had to support their families through activities that could also support the government. It was mentioned in the section that with successful women empowerment, the women of Colombia can become self-sufficient in earning a life for themselves and their families. Yet, these females experience different challenges while attaining empowerment. These challenges are related to warnings generated by the local militia for maintaining gender inequalities. Another challenge is based on the government actions that are unsupportive of the activities.
Further, it was explained in the content analysis that different factors can impact women's empowerment in the region of the country. It was further explained in the content analysis that these factors greatly influenced the performance of the women empowerment of the females who opt for the women empowerment activities. It was further explained in the analysis that opportunities for tourism activities in Colombia could easily increase the chances of women's empowerment in the country. The successful implication of women's empowerment can help the economy, and the country's women have effective revenues that can easily sustain growth.
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Here are the conclusions and recommendations regarding the investigation of whether tourism serves as a means for women's empowerment in the case study of Colombia.
The primary objective of the research was to study the concept of women's empowerment from a theoretical perspective. By examining the content, it can be concluded that women's empowerment would increase the prosperity of a nation as the techniques and strategies used by women for running the state would differ from men and can be successful for a nation.
The study's second objective was identifying the primary factors influencing women's empowerment through tourism entrepreneurship opportunities. By reviewing the findings, it can be concluded that risk-taking and decision-making are primary factors influencing women's empowerment through tourism entrepreneurship opportunities.
The third and foremost objective of this research was to critically evaluate and analyze the influence of tourism entrepreneurship opportunities on women's empowerment for women in Colombia. It has been concluded that the government was the major entity that provided entrepreneurial opportunities such as training and finance to women in Colombia to increase their economic role and uplift their status.
The primary objective of the research was to study the concept of women's empowerment from a theoretical perspective. By doing content analysis, it has been found that woman empowerment is an action to increase the status of women in society. Moreover, the analysis also evaluated that woman empowerment tend to open multiple doors for a woman to avail opportunities in modern society and alter their perceived role as caretaker in the household. Additionally, it has been found that the phenomena of woman empowerment emerged due to the extensive undermining of women’s abilities in society. Furthermore, it has been found that woman empowerment is the process of redefining the role of women and increasing their autonomy in decision-making. However, several studies identified that woman empowerment emerged to bring equality between both sexes, male and female, in terms of their contribution to society.
The study's second objective was identifying the primary factors influencing women's empowerment through tourism entrepreneurship opportunities. The investigation revealed that several factors, such as risk-taking and decision-making in tourism entrepreneurship, play a dominant role in empowering women. Similarly, it has been found that tourism entrepreneurship improves woman’s ability to take risks and make appropriate decisions during start-ups to grow their business. Additionally, it has been evaluated that the government of Columbia played a great role in empowering women by giving them opportunities and finances for starting businesses in agriculture to support their families.
The third and foremost objective of this research was to critically evaluate and analyze the influence of tourism entrepreneurship opportunities on women's empowerment for women in Colombia. The findings revealed that for around 25 years, multiple government regularities in Colombia has been working to empower the role of woman in the nation. However, until now, only women of higher social class have been given prominence and entrepreneurial opportunities in Colombia. Women living in rural areas under poor conditions have yet to get equal entrepreneurial opportunities in Colombia. Additionally, it has been evaluated that the government of Colombia is running various campaigns to encourage women in Colombia to take part in business activities like negotiation and conflict resolution at the workplace, consequently improving the level of woman empowerment in Colombia.
The current research revealed that Colombia has been taking several steps to improve the role of women in the state. Moreover, the research contemplated that women in Colombia are empowered through the government's entrepreneurial opportunities to boost the agricultural sector. Additionally, the current study highlighted decision-making and risk-taking as major elements of tourism entrepreneurship, which inclines women to contribute to the economy of Colombia and raise their status in society. However, women of rural areas living in poor conditions are yet to be recognized as prominent in the state of Colombia; thus, by referring to the findings, the following recommendations are provided:
The first recommendation is to increase the role of women in leadership and at multiple organizations in Colombia as it would allow them to impact the nation's economy positively, work for other women living in underprivileged areas of Colombia, and account for gender discrimination. It has been noticed that women are mostly found in the food production industry, management of natural resources, and tech industry. Hence, it would be vital to provide entrepreneurial opportunities to women to test their risk-taking and decision-making skills that could benefit Colombia's economy.
Another recommendation would be to give thorough training and mentoring to women in Colombia about tourism entrepreneurship, as they would be key resources to attract foreign businesses for investing in local enterprises owned and successfully managed by women of Colombia. Training and mentoring would make women profoundly skilled and productive in the entrepreneurial sector. Additionally, training would include emotional intelligence and rational decision-making that would increase the workforce's productivity via motivation techniques employed by women entrepreneurs.
It has been found that women working in rural areas are accounted for lower rates of wages than men, although the effort of both is somehow the same. Since the women of rural areas are deprived of necessities, they are forced to work for lower wages. Hence, it is recommended that via tourism entrepreneurship, the women of Colombia eradicate the issue of unfair wage rates based on gender inequality by forming policies for equal wage rates for labor, irrespective of gender. Consequently, the women would be safe from social abuses and increase their potential to get equal wages like men, eventually increasing women's empowerment in Colombia.
Primarily, the study aimed to explore women empowerment opportunities through tourism entrepreneurial activities by focusing on the specific case of Colombia. The current study would improve the status of women in multiple nations by highlighting the role played by the government of Colombia in a similar regard. Additionally, the current referred multiple institutions operating in Colombia to train and mentor the women for entrepreneurial activities as it would increase the respect of women in society. Moreover, the current study highlighted the skills and abilities possessed by women that could be beneficial in making critical decisions for formulating policies on gender equality in developing nations like Colombia. The factors of tourism entrepreneurship were part of this research that would assist women entrepreneurs in working productively and efficiently, improving their status in modern society, and eradicating gender inequality in developing nations. The current research stated the importance of women in tourism entrepreneurship as, from a global relational point of view, the familiarity created by guests visiting Colombia from around the globe can bring a sense of sympathy for that country through their encounters as guests. With more empowered women in a nation comes more qualitative woman entrepreneurs that can change the conventional perceived role of women as caretakers of their beloved to major contributors to solving social and economic challenges in an economy.