Monday, March 9, 2009

Female guides: We have to share room with guys

The Star News

Sunday March 8, 2009
Female guides: We have to share room with guys

KUALA LUMPUR: Some tour operators and hoteliers are continuing to disregard a warning issued by the Tourism Ministry in 2006 against forcing women tourist guides to share bedrooms with male guides.

As a result, women tourist guides had no choice but to fork out their own money for accommodation, said Malaysian Women Tourist Guide Association (MWTGA) president Erina Loo Siew Ming yesterday.

“Otherwise, they wouldn’t give us any assignments and we will end up losing our jobs,” she said at a press conference held in conjunction with the association’s third annual general assembly and International Women’s Day at the Malaysia Tourism Centre yesterday.

“Even though the ministry had formally issued a warning to all tour operators in 2006, they continue to ask us to share rooms with our male colleagues because they don’t want to incur extra costs,” said Loo, adding that their counterparts in Vietnam and China faced no such problem.

“We need to ask ourselves if Malaysia, as a civilised society, would want to continue condoning such a practice or do something about it,” said Wanita MCA chief Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun.

“The practice of room-sharing between genders clearly discriminates against women tour guides in terms of equal job opportunity and equal pay as their net income is less than that of their male colleagues,” said Chew, who is also MWGTA honorary adviser.

She added that the practice also posed a threat to their personal safety, making such women more vulnerable to sexual harassment, or rape.

Women’s Aid Organisation president Meera Samanther said the practice violated the Federal Constitution as Article 8(2) states that no one should be discriminated on the basis of gender.

All Women’s Action Society public education, events and advocacy manager Betty Yeoh said that such practices should change with time, adding that tour operators and hoteliers should not use the fact that “this had been the practice for so long” as an excuse any more.

No comments: