Female Travel Security and Health Challenges Focus: International Women's Day

Tuesday Mar. 08, 2016

Female Travel Security and Health Challenges Focus: International Women's Day

On the occasion of International Womens Day, we would like to take the opportunity to applaud the strides women have made in gaining gender equality in politics, business, and human rights. Despite the advances, however, conditions still exist that require women to continue to take action for parity. And these concerns impact women all over the world where they live, work and travel. Below are a few reminders from our security and health experts specific to female travel security.

Joan Morgan, Director, Analytic Personnel

I would like to focus on safety concerns for today's global female traveler and champion that women must continue to remain vigilant against acts of discrimination and violence.

Physical and Sexual Assaults against women go largely unreported in many countries of the world. A World Health Organization study from 2016 indicates that one in three women worldwide will experience either physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.

To mitigate the risk, women must first trust their instinct: if you sense a situation has the potential to turn violent, immediately remove yourself and seek help. Also, keep the below female travel security tips in mind:

  • Never accept a drink unless you have seen it poured and, then, dont leave it unattended
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Request an escort to your car after dark
  • Have your hotel or place of work call an authorized taxi service
  • Choose hotels that are advertised as "women-friendly," and remain in a group, especially at night
  • If you are a victim, immediately seek medical assistance and report the crime; your local Embassy or Consulate can provide assistance

Another concern for women in business - at home and abroad - is sexual harassment, which can take many forms, from cat-calls to unwanted physical contact. Women should be prepared and know in advance how best to deflect the situation should it arise.

Best practices to deter harassment include dressing conservatively, holding meetings only in public places, and exhibiting self-confidence. Should you feel threatened, ignore or deflect advances using forceful language and remove yourself from the situation, seeking safe-haven in a public venue.

Let's continue to raise awareness about violence against women and properly prepare ourselves to avoid potentially dangerous situations.

Katherine Harmon, PA-C, Director, Health Intelligence

In honor of International Women's Day, I would like to bring awareness to the various issues that women face globally to maintain general health, increase life expectancy, and achieve equality for healthcare.

Many women in developed countries enjoy excellent access to quality care and often take advantage of preventive health and wellness programs. This access allows them to take preventive action against disease through education and access to medications and treatment, as well as obtain early diagnoses to common health issues which they can mitigate through action or further treatment.

Unfortunately, this access is not available globally, and women living in developing and impoverished areas have impaired access to care as well as little information in the way of preventive care. The mortality and morbidity (health issues plaguing women) for these women is often dismal, and agencies such as the World Health Organization and many NGO's work hard to bring services and education to remote and impoverished areas.

When women travel abroad, they must keep in mind that healthcare services may be very different than what they are accustomed to at home. From access to medical care, medication availability, and personal health products, female travelers should be knowledgeable about the customs and medical infrastructure that they are entering into. Preparing for potential deficits in care and services, as well as emotionally preparing for the disparities of care that some women face daily that may offend some travelers, is an important aspect of travel planning.

Working with different cultures to raise awareness for women's health issues and provide them a means to access improved care options is continuing to be a priority effort for public, private, and faith-based groups worldwide. A sound understanding of the challenges to these efforts, as well as any health risks that women may face during travel, is the foundation for disease prevention, mitigation, and building improvements for the future.

For more information about female travel security and health challenges specific to women and actionable insights for traveling globally with confidence, read our case study or check out our Female Traveler Safety Training led by Joan Morgan and Katherine Harmon.

Joan Morgan serves as Director, Analytic Personnel and joined iJET International in April 2013 following a distinguished 30 year career with the Central Intelligence Agency. During her career, she served in eight overseas permanent duty locations including Peru, Russia, Switzerland, Uruguay, the UK, Denmark, Mexico, and Afghanistan, and has traveled extensively in Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. Joan holds a Master’s Degree in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University and a BA in Political Science and Spanish from Dickinson College.

Katherine Harmon, PA, serves as iJET’s Senior Director of Category Intelligence. Health, one of iJET’s subject matter categories, has been her domain of expertise. Katherine leads a team of subject matter experts (SME’s) in various intelligence domains to complement geopolitical SME’s and provide actionable intelligence for a vast global customer base. Prior to joining iJET in 2010, Katherine practiced medicine as a physician assistant at Savannah River Nuclear Site, providing occupational medicine and health, as well as counseling, for over 12,000 employees in a high hazard environment. She has also worked as an air traffic controller, and with her undergraduate education in criminal justice, has done security vulnerability assessments for various public and private organizations.

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