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Women's Self-determination in Cooperative Tourism Microenterprises

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The purpose of this study is to better understand how cooperative forms of microentrepreneurship influence women's self-determination. Utilizing the framework of self-determination theory, this study employed a multiple case study approach that involved in-depth interviews, content analysis, field notes, and direct observations. Findings indicate that livelihood opportunities afforded under cooperative tourism microentrepreneurship offer women increased levels of self-determination, but that economic improvements alone are not sufficient in enhancing overall well-being. This study provides a detailed account of the strategies indigenous women employ to enhance their self-determination under cooperative tourism microentrepreneurship models. The results of this study suggest that programs by governments and NGOs should consider non-individual benefits when they engage with communities in tourism planning initiatives. Additionally, interventions aimed at women must also engage men or women may suffer from tensions at home. Finally, this study indicates that simply offering access to credit does not foster self-reliant development. The structures of cooperative models determine outcomes. Therefore, whenever possible, microentrepreneurship models should be designed to enhance strong cooperative social structures.
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Keywords: GENDER; GUATEMALA; MAYA; MICROENTREPRENEURSHIP; POVERTY; TOURISM

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2016

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  • Tourism Review International is a peer-reviewed journal that advances excellence in all fields of tourism research, promotes high-level tourism knowledge, and nourishes cultural awareness in all sectors of the tourism industry by integrating industry and academic perspectives. Its international and interdisciplinary nature ensures that the needs of those interested in tourism are served by documenting industry practices, discussing tourism management and planning issues, providing a forum for primary research and critical examinations of previous research, and by chronicling changing tourism patterns and trends at the local, regional and global scale.
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