A little over a week ago was International Women’s Day and it had me reflecting on one of tenets of my project. The fact that the record books are still waiting to have a woman’s name filled in for having visited every country in the world speaks to the state of travel for women. I find that too often, the reaction to a woman saying, “I’m going to travel to X” is, “by yourself?? aren’t you scared? I could never do that!” I want my project and the content I produce to help shift the dialogue to asking ourselves, why should she be scared and what can we do about it? I can’t wait for women’s reactions to go from “I could never” to “I can’t wait!”
I’m not sure what actions need to be taken to help it set in, but I do know that it starts with us saying that the fear is not ok. It shouldn’t be expected that a woman’s first instinct when traveling, or when doing anything for that matter, is to be afraid.
So first things first, it’s not ok. We have to say it out loud. And sometimes out loud means online. I was incredibly moved as Ashley Judd stood up to the backlash she got for tweeting about a basketball game. And of course, now there’s backlash for that. But why? All she did was say, out loud, that it is not ok.
I’m going to say, “it’s not ok” for women to be afraid when traveling, by traveling anyway.