Tanzania is still very much a patriarchal society. Women rarely receive the same opportunities as men, either in education or professionally, and in some small pockets, truly brutal practices, such as female circumcision, still take place.
Fair hiring practices are a way to directly impact the prospects of Tanzanian women, who Rick and Judi regularly promote to top positions in their fields. The following are just a few of the women employed serving Thomson guests in Tanzania:
Sharon is head of Safari Operations, which includes transportation, guides and reservations. She manages to handle this monumental responsibility with aplomb. The true mark of her success? Our guests consistently rave about their seamless safari experiences, unaware that a million and one moving pieces - down to the tiniest of details – were carefully coordinated behind the scenes.
Manager of the entire tented camping department, Rose was hired in April 2000.
Learn more about Rose and the camping division's recent staff trip
Hellen has been working as a mechanic for Thomson exclusive Land Rover Defenders since 2001. Not only is she breaking gender barriers, we think she's one of the best mechanics in Tanzania!
Learn more about her struggle and determination
Glory never let the fact that Kili guides are overwhelmingly male stop her, and we’re grateful: she consistently scores off the charts on her Wilderness First Responder evaluations, and she’s led dozens of trekkers to the summit!
Shamim is our head of reservations. By her calm and thoughtful demeanor, you’d never know that she and her team are perpetually chasing – and nailing down! – moving targets. Ensuring that every detail is planned and confirmed before guests arrive is a colossal and sometimes chaotic task, but Shamim makes it look easy.
More work to be done
But the exceptional women working on Thomson trips are too often just that: the exceptions. That’s why our partner philanthropy organization, Focus on Tanzanian Communities (FoTZC), is working to promote women throughout Tanzanian culture:
- FoTZC is working closely with the Enyuata Women’s Collaborative, a group of women that designs and sells beaded jewelry in an effort to independently provide for their families.
- Fostering entrepreneurship among Tanzanian women is a primary goal. In addition to the jewelry business, FoTZC has helped women establish a maize-grinding business and funded a project in which local women build and sell more-efficient cooking stoves.
- It’s not just about funding individual projects; FoTZC has also provided entrepreneurship training for women, so they’ll have the skills they need to put the next great idea into practice.
This kind of support means more than funding. It means fostering confidence in a group of strong women who can then go on to improve the lives of their families and the condition of their communities.