#BreakTheBias: Celebrating International Women’s Day 2022 with Empowerment Through Travel

by Carolee Chanona

Year by year, travel becomes more accessible. But that also makes me curious—what was travel like 20, 30, or even 40 years ago? I asked myself this same question over the weekend as I mused through my namesake Aunt’s travel scrapbook, which included momentarily living in at least 22 countries. And yet, she dove headfirst into the lifelong work that took her around the globe, immersing herself into these far-flung corners—fearlessly, zealously, and of course, elegantly. Even with all the technological advancements and options to travel today in 2022, it still takes courage to learn about a new place, a new culture, and a new mode of Operandi. That’s why today on International Women’s Day 2022, we’re celebrating all women, especially those who brave the big and beautiful world. After all, two-thirds of all travelers are women, yet we’re still talked about as a niche. In 2022, join us to #BreakTheBias for gender equality in communities, travel, workplaces, education, and beyond.

There Is No World Without Women

Patty Ramirez is the founder of Splash Dive Center, the largest dive operator in Southern Belize.

Designated International Women’s Day on March 8 of every year to celebrate the contributions of women globally. Although, it’s also used as a platform for far more. According to Conde Nast Traveller, women spent approximately US$125 billion on travel in 2021 alone. And between 2016 and 2019, searches for ‘solo female travel’ grew by 62 percent. It’s thought that over 80 percent of travel decisions are made by women. Not to mention, around two-thirds of people who take trips centered around nature, adventure, and culture? Women.

Indeed, women lie at the heart of travel. We see that daily: whether in tourism business founders, like Patty Ramirez of Splash Dive Center—the first woman in Belize to achieve PADI Course Director, or long-standing staff in the tourism industry, like Luz Hunter—a cultural and natural specialist, guiding for decades in Belize.

Meet Jessica Nabongo, the first black woman to travel every country in the world

Jessica Nabongo in Bhutan.

“Travel with kindness, travel with positive energy and without fear,” says Jessica Nabongo, shown in Bhutan during her successful quest to see every nation on Earth.

In an overwhelmingly white travel blogging industry, Nabongo’s achievement is even more significant in terms of representation—something she doesn’t take for granted. And beyond advocating for equitable representation, Nabongo has used her platform to educate her followers about ethical travel, condemn racism and xenophobia, while promoting self-care for a busy lifestyle.

Jessica Nabongo traveled to all 195 nations, the first Black woman to have documented this feat. And 88 of those countries, she traveled solo—including Belize.

Related: Why This Belize District Is Attracting Women Solo Travelers  

This year, we challenge you to #BreakTheBias to empower the travel and leisure industry, too. The inclusion of women should be a commitment, however, not a one-off action. Ultimately, to carve a space for different backgrounds, ages, ethnicities, and sexual orientations.

Happy International Women’s Day 2022 from the (almost) all-women team at Caribbean Culture + Lifestyle! 
Meet our team here. Header image via Roeming Belize.

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