Our Gender Equality Policy
We are committed to promoting gender equality within our company for our immediate team and our extended community whilst recognising the unique context of Mongolia. Our focus is to create a workplace that values diversity, empowers women, and champions equal opportunities for all.
We are committed to being a positive example and catalyst for change in Mongolia’s tourism sector, fostering a workplace where our immediate team and extended community – irrespective of their gender – can thrive. By embracing the following principles and values, we aim to demonstrate our commitment to gender equality and empowerment within the context of Mongolia’s tourism industry.
We are committed to providing equal opportunities for all individuals, regardless of gender or their role, to excel and succeed both personally and within our organisation. Our equal opportunity principle encompasses two core areas of focus:
1. Empowering Women in Tourism: Our tour guides are exclusively Mongolian women, and we are dedicated to encouraging the involvement of women from diverse backgrounds, including single mothers. We focus on women who aspire to work in tourism but may lack the requisite skills, knowledge, or experience. Our commitment lies in the continuous training and development of our female guides, offering them opportunities for skills enhancement, career advancement, and personal growth. Moreover, we champion mentorship programmes that inspire our guides to become role models for other aspiring females in the tourism industry.
2. Creating Opportunities for Mongolian Men: In a concerted effort to foster gender balance within our workforce and tackle prevalent societal challenges in Mongolia, where our tour guides are women, we have implemented proactive strategies to generate job opportunities for older, more traditional Mongolian men as drivers. This initiative addresses two pressing issues head-on: the high unemployment rates and the pervasive influence of toxic masculinity, particularly impacting more traditional men in Mongolia. Through the provision of stable, long-term employment to these experienced male drivers, we afford them the means to sustain their extended families while leveraging their invaluable knowledge and expertise. This holistic approach not only promotes economic empowerment but also contributes to the cultivation of a more inclusive and equitable society.
Jess is responsible for implementing our gender equality policy. But there’s no designated job title for this role. In our small company, we intentionally maintain a lack of rigid formal structures, embracing a fluid and flexible approach that resonates with the dynamic nature of modern Mongolian culture and our team members.
We operate solely in Mongolia, a traditionally reserved country, and our approach to gender-awareness training is tailored to align with the country’s unique cultural and social fabric.
Despite being a small company with limited resources, we conduct this training in-house, dedicating both time and effort to cultivating a strong sense of unity within our team. Our office space has been transformed into a vibrant team hub, fostering an environment of belonging and openness.
Our training style is informal, and deliberately designed to resonate with our team members. Our primary goal is to ensure that every team member, regardless of their position, length of service, or working hours, experiences a sense of inclusion, safety, and value.
- We acknowledge the gaps in our training, particularly regarding gender-neutral communication and the handling of preferred pronouns. We are actively seeking guidance to incorporate these essential elements into our programme.
- While the LGBTQ+ community is relatively new in Mongolia, we openly welcome LGBTQ+ guests, providing clear and helpful information in our FAQs about what they can expect when visiting Mongolia. One of our goals is to incorporate awareness training about what being a member of the LGBTQ+ means. The aim of this training will be to deepen our understanding of the diverse experiences and identities within the LGBTQ+ community, ensuring that our services are respectful, inclusive, and affirming for every guest who chooses to travel with us.
We firmly believe in equal pay for equal work, ensuring that all employees receive fair and equitable compensation for their contributions, regardless of their gender.
Diversity and Inclusion:
We actively promote diversity and inclusivity in all aspects of our operations, celebrating the unique perspectives and talents that each individual brings to our team.
Gender-Inclusive Leadership and Decision-Making:
We strive to maintain a gender-inclusive approach in leadership and decision-making roles within our organisation. We encourage women to take on leadership positions, and we actively seek input from all team members when making important decisions.
Our two management roles were expressly established to empower and support our female workforce. Although our size presently limits us from generating additional leadership or management positions, we express our gratitude by guaranteeing an annual pay increase, which contributes to our high retention rate among our female guide team.
Meet our managers Miigaa and Tuya
We dedicate both time and resources to nurturing a strong sense of unity within our team. Our foremost goal is to ensure that every team member, regardless of their position, length of tenure, or working hours, feels fully included, safe, and valued.
Training and Development:
We invest in the growth and development of all our team members, with a particular focus on empowering women to achieve their personal and professional aspirations.
As Turuu and I set out on our journey to establish Eternal Landscapes, a small and fledgling company, we encountered a significant challenge in finding guides.
We noticed a recurring pattern within the industry – a ‘circuit’ of the same seasoned guides rotating between various companies or the preference for Western leaders instead of local Mongolians.
This observation raised a pivotal question in our minds: How could aspiring individuals, native to their own country and eager to pursue careers in tourism, break into the field when they lacked formal qualifications and experience? It was this very question that ignited our motivation to create an informal, low-season training programme for Mongolian women.
Think back to when you were just starting on your career path. You attended interviews, only to encounter the all-too-familiar response: ‘We’re interested, but you need more experience.’ Remember the frustration that came with it? How were you expected to gain valuable experience if nobody was willing to extend a helping hand and provide that crucial opportunity?
We understood this situation all too well, and that’s why we decided to be the ones to be the catalyst for change. We decided to be the ones who offered that chance, determined to give local Mongolians the opportunity to aim to be the best they can be.
We recognise the importance of work-life balance for the well-being of our team members. We offer flexible work arrangements and support for family needs, irrespective of their gender, allowing all of our team to excel in their roles while managing family responsibilities.
In Mongolia, a middle-income country where daily life can change quickly, our workplace policy prioritises flexibility for both our team members and our extended community partners.
- For our management and office-based team, we offer the option of remote work with minimal mandatory office attendance, only when essential. We maintain flexibility in allowing team members to choose when and how they complete their work tasks, accommodating their preferred day and time.
- Moreover, our office operates as an open space, welcoming team members regardless of the office-based team’s presence. Any team member is encouraged to bring their children when needed, even beyond conventional office hours, and we support this arrangement, providing complimentary drinks and meals to ensure everyone feels comfortable and cared for.
- In our long-term partnerships with predominantly herder community partners, we understand the fragility and adversity inherent in their lives. In order to offer assistance during any urgent visits to Mongolia’s capital city, we extend our open-house policy, ensuring a secure and inviting environment, especially in cases where emergency childcare arrangements may be unfeasible.
- Moreover, whenever practical, we permit the children of our team of drivers and guides to join them on our one-day city excursions or short overnight tours, providing a crucial solution for emergency childcare needs.
Despite our limited financial resources, we remain committed to supporting our team members who have childcare responsibilities. Our childcare support is designed with inclusivity and flexibility at its core, catering to the diverse needs of our team members in Mongolia, where family dynamics often extend beyond the traditional parent-child relationship.
We acknowledge the unique childcare needs of our employees and strive to make thoughtful accommodations within our means. We firmly believe that even small gestures can significantly assist our team in managing their childcare responsibilities while contributing to the overall success of our company.
- Emergency Childcare Services: While we do not provide subsidised childcare, we offer financial assistance to help team members cover the costs of emergency childcare. For instance, when immediate family members, including children, require emergency healthcare, we endeavour to subsidise operation or healthcare costs within our limited budget.
- Flexible Scheduling: We allow team members with childcare needs to have input into their work schedules. This flexibility allows them to achieve a better balance between work and parenting responsibilities.
- Remote Work Options: Our management and office-based team have the option of remote work with minimal mandatory office attendance, only when essential. This approach, serving as a form of childcare support, enables team members with childcare responsibilities to be more present for their children while fulfilling their job responsibilities.
- Part-Time Opportunities: We offer part-time positions or reduced hours for team members who need to dedicate more time to childcare while still contributing to the company.
- Shared Work Arrangements: Where feasible, we allow team members to share job responsibilities, with two or more members dividing the tasks and responsibilities of a single full-time position.
- Cross-Training: Where possible we train team members to perform multiple roles within the company so that they can cover for each other when childcare emergencies arise.
- Supportive Work Environment: We foster a workplace culture that is understanding and accommodating of childcare needs of our team members.
Our parental leave policy is designed with inclusivity and flexibility at its core, catering to the diverse needs of our team members in Mongolia, where family dynamics often extend beyond the traditional parent-child relationship.
- Recognising the varied roles played by siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and other relatives in child-rearing, we extend our parental leave benefits to all team members, irrespective of their biological or legal relationship with the child.
- Our policy transcends conventional boundaries by offering flexible, unpaid leave to both male and female employees without any prerequisites such as tenure within the company or limitations on the age of the child. We emphasise trust and respect in our approach, eliminating the need for proof to justify leave requests.
- Furthermore, we offer flexibility in the frequency of leave, allowing our team members to avail of parental leave multiple times a year as needed. Importantly, we guarantee job protection for the entire duration of their leave, regardless of its length.
This policy reflects our commitment to gender equality and support for all forms of family structures, ensuring that every team member feels valued and supported during pivotal moments of family life.
Empowering Gender Equality in Local Communities:
We establish local community partnerships with families across Mongolia, particularly herding families impacted by climate change and the threat of urban migration. In our commitment to these partnerships, we ensure that our support actively encourages women’s involvement in tourism-related activities. Furthermore, we extend our support to empower the younger daughters of these families if they express a desire for our assistance. Our overarching goal is to ensure that Mongolian women who opt for this path can reap the benefits of tourism’s positive impact in Mongolia.
An illustration of our work in empowering gender equality in local communities is our support of young female eagle huntress Aigerim.
Promoting Women’s Initiatives:
As advocates for gender equality, we actively participate in and provide long-term support of Mongolian initiatives that empower Mongolian women including those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The Mongolian Quilting Centre – known more formally as the Shine Zamnal (New Way Life NGO) – was established in 2005 to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged and unemployed women in Mongolia.
Women supported by the project are trained in the art of quilting, textiles, and embroidery and use their skills to generate income for their families by crafting products to sell. Not only do the women of NWL make everyday items such as tote bags and tablecloths but also individual pieces of fabric artwork made from discarded and recycled material such as their stunning quilts.
Every EL guest receives a welcome gift tote bag that we have made by the Mongolian Quilting Centre as a way of providing support to the NGO as well as providing a fabric bag for our guests to use in Mongolia when shopping to replace plastic bags. We also work with the Mongolian Quilting Centre offering one-
Every member of our team is responsible for upholding the principles of this policy, fostering a culture of gender equality, and actively contributing to a workplace where everyone feels valued and respected.
We are committed to reviewing and improving our gender equality policy on an annual basis, ensuring that it remains aligned with our mission and values. Feedback from our team members is invaluable in this process. The next review is spring 2025.