The Importance of Gender Equality


For millions of women across the globe this is still a reality. Gender equality is a fundamental human right that is a vital foundation for the sustainable development of this world. Despite significant progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals and to improve gender equality, it remains a pressing and demanding issue for the globe.

Whilst there are now more girls in school, fewer forced marriages and increased opportunities for women in both developed and developing countries, the impact of Covid-19 threatens this progress. Almost 2.7 Billion workers across the globe have been affected by lockdowns and job insecurity and global output has dropped significantly  (UN Policy Brief), it is inevitable that women’s economic and productive lives will be impacted. Despite progress, women still earn less than men, with the gender pay gap stuck at 16%, as well as women still facing unequal access to healthcare, jobs and services. This inequality stems from the fact that 740 million women are employed in the informal sector. As a result, women have less socio-economic protections and are increasingly reliant on social interactions, all of which are limited due to the continuation of the pandemic.

At Camps International, we have been very conscious of the impact Covid-19 has had and is having on the communities we work with. Together with our project managers, Head of Education and our local communities, we turned our attention to education. Whilst travel has not been possible, we decided to educate people across the world on how to work towards reducing gender inequality through our award winning Real World Studies programme. We considered how we could utilise lockdown and the travel restrictions to help empower men and women to act and improve the lives of women across the globe.

Improving Gender Equality

For years Camps International has been privileged to work on improving gender equality with local communities – in particular Kenya. Kenyan women make a large but seemingly invisible economic contribution to their country. This is mainly in the informal sector of the economy, as the formal sector is dominated by the more educated males. More than 75% of women  live in rural areas where they dominate the agricultural sector. They are also classed as “time-poor” due to their roles in the household and labour market. Women work on average 12.9hrs per day compared to 8.2hrs for men, yet they still earn less. Women have limited access to landownership, finance, justice and legal representation and education. There is a large gender gap between the rights of men and women in Kenya, whereby females remain significantly poorer than males.

Although women in Kenya supply 70% of the labour force in agriculture, they hold only 1% of registered land titles.

World Bank

Working with the Local Women’s Group

To help combat this, Camps International have been privileged to work with the Tumaini Women’s Group for years.  Investing time and resources to assist them in creating table banking systems, souvenir shops selling local crafts and empowering Kenyan women. With the pandemic removing income from our travellers, our team have worked closely with the group to develop educational materials that raise awareness of the challenges they face daily.

Our gender equality materials seek to spread the word on gender equality and empower students and their teachers to become change makers, informing them on policy and practice so we can empower women and men in more privileged positions to act and work with women across the globe to reverse the negative impacts of Covid-19, and once again promote progress of gender equality.

We have used the Tumaini Women’s Group’s work as a case study for how simple changes can have dramatic impacts in developing communities. Together with Camps, the Tumaini Women’s Group has assisted women in income generating activities, such as: small scale businesses, selling clothes, souvenirs and other merchandise for Camps’ travelling clients to purchase whilst visiting.

  • Handmaking bead jewellery, baskets and bags to sell to visitors.
  • Poultry businesses, generating income both through selling eggs and chicken meat.
  • Growing aloe vera plants, which are used to produce various cash products.
  • Camps International have also helped construct a shop for the women to sell these products.

By raising gender equality as a key educational issue, we hope that students can make small changes in their local areas before they travel on expedition with us to work with these empowered women firsthand.

2000 Students Participate in Real World Studies Gender Equality Discussions

Last year in 2021, we organised with our partners World Strides a Trans-Atlantic ‘Connect with Camps’ seminar between two girls’ schools, in New York City and London. Over 100 girls and their teachers joined our project managers in Kenya, online, to discuss gender equality and suggest ways they could work on empowering women in their local areas. The seminar was a powerful reminder that tackling gender equality is not just something we need to tackle in developing countries far from our daily lives but is in fact something we need to tackle right here and right now.

Whilst COVID-19 may have limited progress towards the SDGs and in particular the fifth SDG (Gender Equality), what it has done is allowed the developing world time to pause; time to reflect; and time to ponder on what we are doing to improve gender equality.

At Camps International, COVID-19 has provided our team with the opportunity to take time to consider the work we do and more importantly, why we do it. Whilst we haven’t had travellers on the ground buying the souvenirs and working with women to build infrastructure, what we have done is in fact far more powerful. We have empowered students, teachers and policy makers so when we board those planes, we know why we are going, what we need to do to help and how we are going to do it. These empowered, young innovative minds will lead the charge towards 2030.

Learn more about Gender Equality and Women’s Rights with our Free Teacher Training Resources – Real World Studies.


UN SDG Action Campaign

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