Where are all the women at? Off traveling the world, I presume (*raises hand*). There’s no doubt we’ve seen a huge influx of solo female travelers in the last few years, which is beyond amazing. But let’s shift the focus to the people we look up to in the industry, that plaster billboards and sell 30-second spots.

In this case, there are very few females to be found.

Male television stars, who share their traveling journies on the road, foodie adventures, and tips and tricks, are everywhere. And it got me wondering why there are no great female travel stars.

Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Anthony Bourdain, Guy Fieri, and Rick Steves. But Overall, networks tend to shy away from female voices. Other than Viceland who surprisingly represents a good amount of female travel hosts, most networks are hugely lacking in this space.

“The average adventure traveler is not a 28-year old male, but a 47-year-old female. And she wears a size 12 dress.” – Marybeth Bond, The Gutsy Traveler

Aside from this eye-opening statistic, the travel industry embarrassingly lacks female travel hosts, as pointed out on Conde Nast Traveler. As my case in point, even this list of the best 15 travel shows on Netflix includes all men and only men. So what gives?

The Reality

Women are not representing women. Instead, male travel hosts are trying to fill this gap. And no offense to them, but the fact of the matter is, traveling can be very different for women. Women often have to think about safety and what to wear as they are visiting different cultures. None of which are really covered in-depth by our male counterparts.

In interesting contrast though, YouTube comes to mind as being more of an equal playing field. A lot of women post their travel vlogs and offer tips and tricks while on the road solo, and though I couldn’t find a solid statistic to back this up, they seem to outnumber men in this area on YouTube.

If women are traveling (which we clearly are because 54 percent of the most affluent travelers are women), why are we not being portrayed in television? Should we settle for our amazing female YouTubers, or ask for more?

“My family begged me not to travel. I would ‘lose my power in my home’, they said. ‘It’s not safe,’ they said.” Her friends echoed these sentiments, warning ‘Don’t travel alone.'” -Usha Mary, 34, National Geographic

For a lot of women, this disapproval of solo traveling is still very much persistent. For me, I am lucky to have a family and boyfriend that supports my desires to travel. But for a lot of females in other countries, it will require more and more prominent females breaking the molds and setting the standards.

The Future Could be Female?

The Travel Channel is said to have recently picked up a handful of shows that feature female travel hosts, which are currently in production. If this is true, then it’s a nice start.

However, I am still a little skeptical. When female travel hosts are signed, the result is usually an overly sexualized portrayal of traveling. The Huffington Post made a good comparison of the expectations surrounding female travel host’s looks, vs male travel hosts (Pssst, looks don’t matter for dudes). Unsurprisingly, looks matter when you’re a female hosting a travel show.

I recognize this is a larger issue within television in general. As a travel blogger, I am particularly passionate about getting a lot more awesome, girlboss travelers to look up to. We need it.

Before I end, I’d like to talk about what’s going right in the travel industry. Airbnb just released a 37-page report in March called Women Hosts and Airbnb: Building a Global Community. This report revealed with facts and figures, what amazing work Airbnb has been doing (quietly, behind the scenes if I might add) to help economically empower women around the world.

“Today, some one million women host on Airbnb, accounting for 55 percent of its global host community.” -Aribnb

Discussion

Now that we’ve discussed a little bit about the lack of females in the travel industry, I’d like to open this post up to some discussion!

What are your thoughts on women being portrayed in the travel industry, as travel hosts or just in general? And how can we be more accurately portrayed?

*Just a little disclaimer: I thought this was an interesting topic to discuss. There are many male travel hosts that I absolutely adore, and this is in no way trying to take away from their success. 

29 Comments

  1. This is such a great topic and I’m glad you brought it up, because honestly I didn’t even realize the lack of female representation in travel shows until now! I wonder though, what’s the demographic of people who usually watch the travel shows? Unless it’s overwhelmingly male, I think having female hosts will really add to the program, especially since there are certain things women just relate to (that you mentioned) that men wouldn’t even think to discuss on their shows. Glad the industry is taking this step forward, no matter how small! 🙂

    Jenny // Geeky Posh

    Reply
    1. Thanks Jenny! Most girls have mentioned that they never noticed either haha. I didn’t at first either! You make up an interesting point about demographic for sure. Maybe the demographic is male, because there aren’t any females to watch? Haha. Just playing devil’s advocate. It’s such an interesting topic to think about!

      Author Reply
  2. I totally agree with you that there are not enough women being portrayed in the travel industry! I follow quite a few female based travel blogs and have always wondered why there are still a limited number of female travelers having their own tv show. I really do hope that changes!

    http://roadesque.com

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  3. Interesting read, Emily! I guess I’ve never really thought about men vs. women in the travel industry itself (with shows, etc) – although I totally get how the male travel hosts can’t provide the perspective of traveling as a female. It would be awesome to have more women in the industry for sure. Also, such a cool Airbnb report!

    Kathryn • simplykk.com

    Reply
    1. Thank you Kathryn! I don’t think a lot of people think about the lack of women as travel hosts. I definitely didn’t for the longest time!

      Author Reply
  4. I’m quite embarrassed that I’ve never noticed this before so thank you so much for bringing this to my attention! In this day and age, we should not be experiencing a lack of women at the forefront of travel and it actually makes me sad! I think it’s brilliant you’ve spoken about this!

    Loving the new look by the way!

    Musings & More

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    1. Thank you Em! I didn’t notice it much before either. I think it would be awesome to have a female traveler on television!

      Author Reply
    1. Right?! I think that’s a great idea! I think a foodie Youtuber did that, and now she has her own show on the Food Network. Pretty cool!

      Author Reply
  5. This is so true that there are no women portrayed on travel channels and I think this is why when I look for advice on traveling as a female or solo traveling I look towards other travel bloggers and youtubers. I love traveling and also have a family and boyfriend who support me in all my adventures. I hope we get to see more women become a part of the travel industry =o)

    https://dreamofadventures.com/

    Reply
    1. Definitely agree about looking towards other bloggers and youtubers. I’d love to see more women in television for sure! I feel like that’s such a large audience and space we’re missing out on.

      Author Reply
  6. Now that you mentioned it, there are less “popular” female travelers out there. I usually follow female travel b/vloggers so I haven’t noticed it before, but when it is about Netflix documentaries, etc., they’re mostly male. Thanks for opening this topic up! It really got me thinking.

    Reply
  7. Great thoughts indeed, and hopefully the post will get people talking and more involved in such matters. Travelling is fun and the more people sharing their experiences the merrier.

    Warm greetings.

    Reply
  8. Such a great post and discussion topic! It’s a shame that look matters for women TV hosts but sighhh, that’s the world we live in. I love the fact that many host on AIRbnb’s 🙂
    I love travelling alone and wandering alone and I feel bad for women that wouldn’t be able to do so. I cherish it a lot 🙂

    http://www.desiringsme.com/

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  9. This is a great point that I hadn’t even thought about before Emily. I honestly don’t watch much TV to know what is going on with traveling shows nowadays but I can definitely imagine what you say is true. I really don’t hear much about women who portray travel in media as much as men, which is unfortunate. We do make up such a large number of travelers so this is something that needs to change very very soon, I hope!
    http://www.lacasabloga.com

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