On May 27, 2021, ATRA organized its 4th Webinar Series themed "Advancing the Role of Women in ASEAN Tourism". The webinar was co-organized by Taylor's University, Malaysia; Universitas Pancasila, Indonesia; James Cook University Australia and James Cook University Singapore presented three notable speakers: Dr. Barkathunnisha, Founder & CEO of Elevated Consultancy and World Women Tourism; Ms. Vandana Vijay, Founder & CEO of Offbeat Tracks (India) and Ms. Xialeemar Valdaevilla, Founder of JCI Pinay Power, CPO-Philippine Navy Reserve and Board of Directors of ATRA.
The session was hosted by Dr. Jenny Panchal, Senior Lecturer at James Cook University and moderated by Dr. Devi Kausar, Associate Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Tourism, Universitas Pancasila, Indonesia both are Board of Directors of ATRA. The session Tourism and Women in ASEAN brought by Dr. Barkathunnisha illustrated the current status of women's involvement in tourism in which many are still lagging behind men in income, career opportunities and business ownership.
This session recommends training and education, networks and collaborations, institutionalizing gender perspectives, and promoting and supporting entrepreneurship and leadership as ways for advancing women in ASEAN tourism. Ms. Vandana Vijay, on the other hand, presents the topic of Sustainable Development Across the Himalayas, where communities are empowered through rural tourism and local women play their important roles as actors of rural tourism.
The last session on empowered women empowering other women was delivered by Ms. Xialeemar Valdaevilla. She converse about how digitalization seems to favor the female labor force and that women's superior social skill represents a comparative advantage in the digital age. Overall, the three sessions acknowledge women's role in the tourism industry while providing recommendations on how to empower more women in tourism, especially during this pandemic.