The Future is Female

Christine Galavante Team Untraveled

I remember the days when I worked with the women weavers in Rwanda where weaving ended up taking only a fraction of the day. At 7 AM, we fetched water for the village, then farmed and harvested the crops. We then returned home, fed the animals, and cooked the meals. Only after 6 hours of backbreaking work did we start to weave. What women do to make it happen for their families will never cease to amaze me. It is this time of International Women’s Month that gives me an occasion to honor these women, and also the men in my life and my experiences with all.

A Study of Women Around the World

My experience in Rwanda with the women weavers who are part of the Azizi Life Cooperative is one of the travel experiences that left its mark on me. I haven’t yet been to all 195 countries, but so far I’ve observed an interesting phenomenon among developing nations. Similar to Rwanda where you would think it would be a patriarchal society, women are integral, and in many cases, hold the family together. It’s not just in “traditional” roles where women have dinner on the table and take care of the kids. In a country like Rwanda, having dinner on the table means you do the backbreaking work of farming for the food, and fetching water from outside your village.

A Lasting Impression

I will never forget how much my body ached from a simple day of carrying 10-pound jugs of water a mile back. Or maybe the aches were from having to hoe the land and harvest food. Whatever the case, the fact that we worked on home responsibilities for 6 hours, before putting in another 6-7 hours of work to earn money for the cooperative.

In Afghanistan where I’ve done extensive work, many of our female students are the primary breadwinners for their families. This means that they support, for example, their older brothers, fathers, and six other siblings. I don’t think I will ever understand the parody or the irony in this. In Afghanistan, women aren’t allowed to work for the government or in many roles in society, yet, somehow carry the responsibility on their shoulders to support the family. I am continually in awe of all that women can do, and how they rise to the occasion no matter where I travel.

Hiring the Best Candidate for the Job

I’ve had the privilege of building Galavante for the past twelve years. During this time, I’ve never thought about hiring diversity. I’ve always hired the best people for the job. If you look at our Galavante Team, it just happens that 75% are women. Our work product at Galavante speaks for itself, whether it’s our online magazine or our travel bookings.

With that said, balanced diversity is the key. I have as many men who have mentored and paved the way for development and success in my career. To those men who have stayed in my life for decades, this International Women’s Month is also for you. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of the men who encouraged me, funded my company, and continue to give me wise advice.

What’s in Store for International Women’s Month

I am just happy that the opportunity to honor women is not just a day, but rather it’s now International Women’s Month. At Galavante, it didn’t much brainstorming to think about women and their role in travel, food, and wine. Some of the top hotels in the world are run by women, who rise to the top in a male-dominated field. Whether it’s in food, wine, or restaurants, this month is for all the women who inspire us.

All the Best,

Christine Drinan, Founder

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