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Corporate travel policies not enough to keep female travellers safe, says GBTA

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Despite the established fact that female travellers face more safety risks when on a business trip, corporate travel policies have been found lacking and not built with women in mind, says new research.

There has been a significant increase in the number of female corporate travellers as more women have climbed up the corporate ladder, especially those in top-level positions. According to Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and WWStay, 70% of corporate travel buyers claimed that female business travellers face higher travel safety risks.

Some of the threats faced by women are medical conditions like the zika virus -especially dangerous for pregnant women – assault, and harassment, as well as challenges specific to location like religious disadvantage.

While corporate buyers agreed that there are threats, 61% of corporate travel buyers believe that policies should address the threats specifically faced by women. Only 18% of the respondents believe that such policies include such threats – which range from travel to certain cities and countries where harassment of women – and even sexual assault and kidnapping – is commonplace.

“Ensure the safety of our female road warriors”

GBTA President Christle Johnson said: “As an industry, we need to do more to ensure the safety of our female road warriors, especially as women make up an ever-increasing amount of our business traveller population.”

How to be safe

Global travel risk consultant Drum Cussac has provided a safety guide for female business travellers. When travelling alone, female travellers should practice more caution as they can become the focus of unwanted attention, which can sometimes result in serious consequences.

The guide added a list of items women should include in their everyday carry. These are:

  • Mobile phone (with emergency numbers pre-programmed)
  • Local currency (in trousers or jacket pockets – separate from the purse)
  • Whistle
  • Torch
  • Local map
  • Photocopy of passport
  • Personal mini alarm
  • Hotel/embassy address in the local language

Travel managers should seek post-travel feedback from female travellers to continuously improve their travel policies. By proactively seeking to understand the issues faced by women, companies can implement policies that will ensure the safety of their travellers.

For more information, download the white paper.

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