It’s no secret to us that women and travel go hand in hand. Whether they’re our tour leaders, travellers, or members of the communities we visit, we celebrate and support their achievements every day. In the spirit of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day on March 8th, we’re sharing a bunch of ways women have paved the way and left their mark on the world of travel. Historic leadership! Epic journeys! Changed lives! Our list is a drop in the bucket, but we hope it’ll inspire you to follow in their footsteps and continue to push for equality around the world.
Five women who changed the way we travel
You’ve likely heard of Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb Everest. But in 1975, Junko Tabei was the first woman to summit the mountain. And she didn’t stop there: in 1992, she was the first woman to conquer the Seven Summits, the highest peaks on all continents.
In 1921, she was the first woman of African-American and Native American descent to hold a pilot's license. American flight schools didn't admit women or Black Americans, so she travelled to France instead. Her famous quote: "The air is the only place free from prejudice."
Determined to turn the fictional Around the World in Eighty Days novel into fact, the American journalist circumnavigated the globe in 1890. Not only was she the first to do it in this timeframe, but she did it in 72 days and travelled solo for most of the long journey.
Freddye Scarborough Henderson
In 1955, she founded the Henderson Travel Agency with her husband, the first African-American travel agency in the United States. At a time when racial tensions were high, she chartered flights for Black travellers to see Africa, something few airlines did.
The renowned primatologist and conservation advocate fundamentally altered the way we interact with wild animals while we travel. Our Animal Welfare Policy and Jane Goodall Collection of tours are all guided by her work to foster greater protection of wildlife.
Five women changed by Planeterra's projects
Mama Yusuphu in Mto wa Mbu, Tanzania says community tourism changed her life 150%. She took her one-room stick and mud house to a compound of brick homes paid for by the money she earned hosting meals for G Adventures travellers among others.
Timotea, who runs a small pottery cooperative in rural Belize, says that after an investment from our non-profit partner Planeterra, they went from paying 9 employees to 25. Now they lift young women up in their community by helping to fund school fees.
Linda, the president of the Lusumpuko Women’s Club in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe went from quietly rearing chickens to a lively meal host. After a year of welcoming G Adventures’ travellers, members were able to put their kids in better schools.
Hanan, co-founder of AFER in Morocco, works tirelessly with her staff to provide local women with literacy lessons, medical care, donations, and entrepreneurial training. The money from their tourist lunch program now funds dozens of rural women’s groups.
Neha, a driver at the Women On Wheels program in New Delhi, India was given the confidence and training to become a commercial driver. As a traveller you might see her welcoming face on an airport transfer as she earns a living for herself.
Five women-focused Planeterra projects you can visit
Café Ubuntu — Kenya Camping Safari
Ccaccaccollo Women’s Weaving Co-op — Absolute Peru
Maasai Clean Cookstoves — Tanzania Camping Adventure
SThree Craft Shop and Cafe — Sri Lanka Encompassed
Panauti Village Community Homestay — Nepal: Mountains and Temples
Five novels by women to inspire your next trip
Island of a Thousand Mirrors by Nayomi Munaweera — Destination Sri Lanka
You’ll appreciate the opportunity to visit historical sites like Sigiriya fortress in peace today after following the lives of two young women on opposing sides of the Sri Lankan Civil War.
The Next One to Fall by Hilary Davidson — Destination Peru
It’s unlikely that your visit to Machu Picchu will involve a murder (we hope!) but you can get wrapped up in a fictional investigation by amateur sleuth and travel writer Lily Moore.
Daughter of the Gods by Stephanie Thornton — Destination Egypt
While Cleopatra remains Egypt’s most famous female leader, the author brings fiercely independent Hatshepsut to life as she dares to become Pharaoh some 1,400 years earlier.
We Came Here to Forget by Andrea Dunlop — Destination Argentina
Want to run away, become a different person, and strike up a dangerous romance with a tango teacher? Follow an American Olympic skier doing exactly that in Buenos Aires.
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante — Destination Italy
Set among the famous botanical gardens and elegant Piazza dei Martiri, this novel compellingly portrays the enduring friendship of two young women in 1950s Naples.