Travelling more dangerous for women?
April 11, 2007 9:23 PM   Subscribe

Do any actual studies or data anywhere indicate that women travelers are more often the victims of crime than male travelers in the United States? Overseas?

I saw one of those creepy "here's how to protect yourselves you poor helpless ladies" articles, and it made me wonder if such fears are vestiges of a bygone era when people worried about "the little woman" stepping outside her house or if there is really any data indicating that women would be at greater risk.
posted by answergrape to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know about travelers in the US, and non violent crimes like pick pockets and whatnot, but I do know that about 75% of violent crimes target men. But there is far more awareness among women about the risk of being attacked, so often times people mistakenly assume women are more likely to be victimized.

Again, that is only for violent crime (including armed robberies and whatnot), but it wouldn't surprise me to find out that our attitudes about non-violent crimes are similar.
posted by Jezztek at 9:34 PM on April 11, 2007

Some of the answers you seek might be here at the World Tourism Organisation website.
posted by b33j at 9:40 PM on April 11, 2007

This pdf discusses homicides of overseas visitors in Australia and the last page states that young men are at higher risk.
posted by b33j at 9:46 PM on April 11, 2007

Anecdotally at least, most of the crime towards westerners here targets women. However, it's not that the thieves are targeting them specifically, it's just that girls tend to make themselves a hell of a lot easier to rob. One of the biggest problems is guys blowing past on motorbikes and swiping bags - guys usually have a well-secured backpack if anything, whereas girls insist on carrying around a single-strap purse (that's sometimes open!).

I agree with what you're implying - the "vulnerable little woman" thing is a complete myth, unless you count being ogled by drunk dudes dangerous (hint: it's not).
posted by borkingchikapa at 10:22 PM on April 11, 2007

"here" is Vietnam, by the way.
posted by borkingchikapa at 10:22 PM on April 11, 2007

Are you not counting rape? It's overwhelmingly against females (except in incarcerated populations).
posted by sparrows at 11:12 PM on April 11, 2007

Women business travelers, at least, appear to feel that they are more at risk:

From an NYT article:

IT isn’t easy to astonish Kathleen Ameche, who is usually on the road five days a week as a speaker, and who literally wrote the book on women and business travel.

But the results of a recent Web seminar on travel safety that she helped organize among 500 female business travelers did just that.

“Ninety-eight percent of them said they had their personal safety compromised on a business trip within the last 45 days,” said Ms. Ameche, the author of “The Woman Road Warrior: A Woman’s Guide to Business Travel” (Agate, 2005). “Ninety-eight percent! That number is staggering. In 2007 we still have that issue?”

posted by Forktine at 3:45 AM on April 12, 2007

Forktine: Yes, but what's the number for men?

"personal safety compromised" is a pretty vague term. I'm not sure it's possible to take a taxi to an airport, go through security and boarding and eat airline food without having some kind of feeling of compromised safety.
posted by Ookseer at 10:01 AM on April 12, 2007

Yes, but what's the number for men?

Obviously, I have no idea about the male / female criminal victimization ratio, nor I would guess does the "expert" quoted in the article. What does stand out, and I thought I had flagged in my comment, is that women travelers themselves feel vulnerable and at risk. The original question was in part:

...if such fears are vestiges of a bygone era when people worried about "the little woman" stepping outside her house...

This article makes it clear that it isn't simply the imposition of fears imposed by "people" (presumably male) onto "the little woman" -- these are fears articulated and mediated by women travelers. (If you read the article, the interesting point is that this perception of danger is driving hotel design and operations; true or not, this is an issue with real consequences.) The deeper question -- what are actual comparable stats for crimes suffered by travelers -- is obviously not addressed here; I would be surprised if any single set of crime statistics for travelers held up to close scrutiny, because of the jurisdictional and reporting problems. And even if you did have believable statistics saying x% of men and y% of women were victimized, how do you weight those numbers for pickpocketing vs assault vs rape, to reflect the way these fears are articulated?
posted by Forktine at 11:04 AM on April 12, 2007

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