Anne Majumdar

Intrepid Travel has underlined its commitment to women’s equality as it marked International Women’s Day by opening bookings on a new range of women-only expeditions in Morocco, Iran and Jordan.

The “limited edition” itineraries have been designed to encourage female empowerment and showcase the traditions and routines of local women in each destination, according to the adventure travel operator.

Each will be guided by female tour leaders, with the aim of offering a “deeper understanding” of female culture in each Middle Eastern nation. Female travellers on the trips will encounter local women from all walks of life.

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“This new line of Women’s Expeditions offers a unique opportunity for female travellers from around the world to connect with each other and learn more about Middle Eastern women and their day-to-day lives,” Intrepid regional product manager Middle East and Africa Jenny Gray said.

“While Intrepid Travel believes in inclusiveness at all levels of our company, these female-led, women-only expeditions offer a socially responsible and culturally sensitive way for travellers to access female-only establishments, experiences and customs in these traditionally conservative countries.”

Stand-out experiences include learning the art of henna with Bedouin women and spending time with a female shepherd in Jordan, visiting a female only park and beauty salon in Iran and experiencing a traditional hammam with local women in Morocco.

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So what else is Intrepid doing to ensure diversity and inclusion at all levels of the business?

It has set a target of doubling its number of female tour leaders around the world by 2020.

“While this may not be a difficult target in many countries, in traditional societies recruiting women is a much greater challenge,” Gray said.

With less than two years to hit this goal, the company highlighted a major strides as the achievement of a 50:50 gender split in new tour leaders in India.

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This was done by advertising for female applicants, launching targeted social campaigns and educating families about the benefits of female employment. Intrepid now has 11 female tour leaders in the country.

“We recognise that these progressive movements don’t happen overnight,” Gray said.

“There’s still a long way to go, but through our ongoing efforts and by launching these new expeditions, we’re making encouraging progress in promoting women’s independence and boosting female employment around the world.”

Do you like the sound of these new expeditions?