#WomenOfTnl: Today, the long-fought gender battle in the work field is finally gaining momentum as more and more women are rightfully clinching the positions they deserve and are climbing up the corporate ladder. The travel and hospitality industry, too, is no exception. By Chhavi Chadha
Traditionally, women occupied more frontline positions in the travel and hospitality sector. However, the past decade has seen steady growth in the number of women entrepreneurs, as well as female show-runners in bigger corporates. It is true that women have had far more struggles to find their space than men in every industry. The cultural pressures, balancing home-life, and gender stereotypes have always come in the way of their growth. The travel sector, however, has been relatively welcoming towards women. The industry relies more on innovative ideas, people skills, and the ability to nurture connections—something that comes naturally to us, women.
Being an industry professional myself, I can proudly say that women have moulded themselves to fit into the industry’s expectations. The industry, too, has moulded itself to be more inclusive. Over time, it has developed models that support self-reliance and self-employment. Ten years ago, when tourism in India was still developing, ‘women in tourism’ would be associated with aviation personnel and hotel frontline workers. Today, we have female employees everywhere–out in the field as holiday crafters, cultural experts, or tour guides; as well as in the top-line as CEOs of travel startups, marketing heads, government ministers, and more.
India’s Ministry of Tourism, too, has been extremely supportive in this regard. It adheres to the principles of equal pay and opportunity for both sexes. And with so many strong women leading the way within the ministry, the picture is only going to get rosier for ladies who wish to make a career in travel. Now the industry also has better professional opportunities for women, especially considering how travel as a commodity is becoming more and more nuanced and profitable.
As an industry, travel and hospitality are also driven by unique propositions, innovative ideas, and creativity. Take, Bespoke Tailormade Experience’s virtual tours, for instance. The idea wasn’t fully tapped into until COVID-19’s limitations surfaced. In cases of new concepts like this, the industry—as a whole—is highly adaptive of good ideas if they are executed well, irrespective of gender.
Another thing to note is that women are not only show-runners but are also increasingly becoming consumers of tourism. They are now the sole decision-makers of when and how they want to travel–which wasn’t the case 10 years ago.
Personally, it’s been an exhilarating journey; I’ve evolved from being an intern at Japan Airlines to becoming the sales and marketing head there, and now a business owner. I’ve seen the transformation of this profession in the last 20 years from a male-dominated one to a women-led one. It’s been an exciting, challenging—but most importantly–an enriching journey.
Chhavi Chadha is the founder of Bespoke Tailormade Experiences.