Gender Equality – A Top Priority

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Gender Equality – A Top Priority

Last month I got an email from a reputed organisationasking me to send in my nomination for an award.This is something I have started to avoid but what attracted me to this particular one was the message in the email – it somewhere touched a chord with me.

I was wondering what did I do that made people notice my work or be interested in who I was for that matterconsidering me for the coveted award. What comes to my mind is one of my professors and mentors many moons ago who said that the world wasn’t ready for women like us who had a voice and wanted to make it heard at every platform that mattered; equality has been the top priority for most. We must also remember that the world will never be ready unless we make it happen. Today is the time we need to champion equality in all spheres of our personal and professional lives.

Only 10% women are in the top management roles though the participation of women employees is much higher. Gender diversity, inclusion and equity require our top focus.

The ratio of women leaving the hospitality industry surpasses that of men also the ratios of women progressing to the decision-making roles are quite few;  the hospitality industry is touted as having long working hours, in fact the impact of work should matter and not the number of hours served; this is the much needed perception shift.

There is good representation of women workforce in the industry but only at the lower levels of hierarchy; it tapers as we move up the pyramid. It is high time that organisationsfocused on career paths and succession planning for their women employees.

Apart from their job responsibilities at work women have a set of responsibilities even after they reach back home. If they don’t get support from their families and work places; it can create unwarranted stress for them. Not all can handle that and they quit altogether. Also women are rarely considered for key positions or leadership roles. It is one of the glass ceilings that women are waiting to shatter!

There is a need for a mindset shift in the hospitality industry as many hurdles are stacked against women who are waiting for equal opportunities. How long should they wait? Why is the age old stereotype still used against them?

I urge the top managements and the decision makers to give it a thought and do something concrete about it as it’s us who’ll have to set the ball rolling for the progressive and growth mindset to become the norm. We need to create that culture and climate of change.

Indian Women in Hospitality (IWH) came into my thoughts; it has been a dream project that I am building and strengthening along with many other ladies from the industry. It made me think beyond work or where I came from. This year also marks the silver jubilee of my professional life; 25 years ago I joined the Taj Group officially embarking on my hospitality journey.

IWH has been the ecosystem partner with top hospitality publications and as the founder I have been maintaining columns where I try to highlight issues faced by women. Ladies from the fraternity are called on various forums for highlighting women’s concerns. Organisations are making many changes in their HR policies and functions which are very encouraging. Women team members can contribute to and create great value for their organisations with the right mentorship and given the right opportunities.Only when we implement these in our policies will we be able to truly become inclusive; otherwise ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ will only remain in our books and a topic to discuss on special occasions.

PS: Pictures are taken from Google with due credits. this article first appeaded in ET Hospitality World.

Laxmi Todiwan
Laxmi Todiwan
Founder Indian Women in Hospitality. She is a Professor, Corporate Trainer, Motivational Speaker and a Blogger. A hospitality professional with a career spanning over two decades; people engagement, training and development is close to her heart. She writes for hospitality journals, international websites and columns in the local newspapers. Married to a Master Mariner she loves to write on the maritime industry as well as the lives and relationships of the fraternity. She expresses her thoughts on her blog and website, www.theiwh.com

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