Women & Non-Binary Travelers

Attitudes related to gender, along with socially constructed notions around how one is expected to look and act based on gender, vary from culture to culture. Travelers of all genders may encounter understandings, assumptions, stereotypes, and expected standards of behavior that are very different from what they are used to experiencing at home.

Women and non-binary travelers abroad often face challenges related to social expectations based on gender. Some women and non-binary travelers report encountering social environments abroad that limit their sense of independence and autonomy relative to men in ways that they have not previously experienced, and this can become a significant source of discomfort and distress.

Before traveling, it is important to research societal perceptions of gender, behavioral expectations, and customs for dating and relationships at your program location and take time to consider issues that you may face while abroad. You may also want to connect with other women or non-binary travelers who have been to your program location if you have specific questions or concerns.

Questions to ask yourself

  • What are the perceptions and expectations for men, women, transgender, genderqueer, and other non-binary people at my program location?
  • Are there gendered stereotypes of foreigners within local culture?
  • What safety precautions could I put into place before I depart?
  • How can I prepare myself if faced with a situation where I might be discriminated or harassed based on my gender?