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Gender Relationships

It is important to identify what is acceptable as far as gender roles is concerned when it comes to your host country.

Gender roles differ from one country to another

When travelling abroad, it is essential to be considerate of the culture of your destination country. Gender roles, relationships and how to dress are part of being a considerate and safer traveller. Some locations may be much more different than what you are familiar with back home. Indeed, gender interactions differ from one country to another: men to women, men to men and women to women. Some cultures segregate between sexes, others don’t. Some cultures may find what is normal to you offending and vice versa, like staring, holding hands, kissing, hugging, etc. Some cultures are much more sensitive about personal space, and public display of affection than others. Some cultures may find your fashionable piece of clothing from back home, offending in their home country. The key to be comfortable and make your host community feel comfortable is to prepare and plan accordingly, as well as observe the norm the first few days you arrive in country. A few tips for women to stay safe while abroad include:

  • Be careful about whom you invite home; be aware that in some countries offering hospitality shortly after meeting someone may imply more than ordinary friendliness.
  • If unsure about someone’s motives in inviting you to their home, ask if you can take a friend with you.
  • Be sensitive to any ways in which your clothes and behaviour may be uncharacteristic of the local population; style of dress or behaviour which is perfectly acceptable at home may give out different signals overseas.
  • Don’t react to verbal abuse/invitations, and avoid eye contact with strangers.
  • Always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.

Not that these tips are intended to advise, not to alarm.