Indian Women In Hospitality

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February 26, 2018

Indian Women In Hospitality

I am extremely happy today; in fact my happiness knows no bounds! I feel finally have created something which can really go far as the saying goes, a small step leading to a giant leap! A  platform for the Indian women, working in the hospitality industry. It’ll be used for knowledge & experience sharing, networking, mentoring and collaborating. We have come far indeed but a lot needs to be done. Together we all can achieve more!

Look at inspirational stories among us, motivate us to give our best, share our concerns, and get mentoring but above all each woman empowering the other!  That’s the focus of this group. Would like to get every success story reach the others through blogs and you never know when that can give shape to a book. That’s the vision, to have a collection of success stories from the fraternity.
I believe we have amazing women among us who have beaten every stereotype to reach where they are in their careers and life. There are super women who have been there and done that let their stories guide the others who are just embarking on this journey. It’s easy for women to work for a couple of years in the industry and then switch track, not finding it their cup of tea. We see high turnover among women employees in hospitality. Whereas the truth is that hospitality comes naturally to women, so making a career in the industry can be utilising their strengths to the core. They also make great managers just like men. In my own experience I have felt the privilege of being a woman at my work place. There is respect, caring and the challenge of walking shoulder to shoulder with the men. Gender equity is the mantra to follow and not become a victim of gender bias!
I often hear from my ex students, colleagues as well as women I met across the country during my training programs, writing to me seeking guidance. I end up counseling them, sharing whatever best I can but I feel I am not equipped to handle all on my own. This platform will thus create a bigger bandwidth, a support group where one can seek help from the others.
A local newspaper approached me to write a column in their supplement. Now this was an offer that I couldn’t resist simply for the love of sharing my thoughts with people. The thoughts of hospitality as a career, as I still feel people in India, need to know it better.
The Hospitality and Tourism industry offers careers that are dynamic, challenging, thrilling and vibrant in nature. The industry offers many opportunities to the people with the right skills set. A recent study by the World Travel & Tourism Council shows that the hospitality industry is the largest employer worldwide hiring 1 in 12 workers, and this number is set to grow with the continued expansion and growth of the sector. The industry is not really understood well by the masses. Most of them associate it with glamour but there’s a lot of hard work, discipline and the love to serve others that goes hand in hand. Hospitality is all about doing things that come from the heart, manage events and create memorable experiences for the guests.
Being in the industry for more than two decades and counselling parents and students as well as employees over the years, I have felt that it is extremely important for the students or new employees to know how the hotels operate and what career paths will be available to them.
Anything first is always very special. The article will remain special to me.
I thought of sharing a very important concern that comes up during my counselling sessions- gender stereotypes! Not that I am a feminist who shouts from the rooftop, but when it comes to dealing with concerned parents of youngsters who are thinking of venturing into a career in the hospitality industry I get asked often how the industry was for girls.
I am a girl, of course a lady now! Have been in the industry, for almost 21 years. Studied in a hospitality college where the boys to girls ratio was 7:1 (most professional courses show this kind of ratio), a hosteller while there, done my intern ship of 6 months in the second year of college. I have worked in the hotel operations for the first 4 years of my career before getting into academics and after 6 years of that, I am back having one foot in the operations and the other in teaching, learning and development. I haven’t really experienced any bias anywhere, but I was a fighter just like many other women of my generation! Can say that; the industry is very safe to work in. In fact hotels take great care of their women team members. Within the hotel, which is a 24 hours operation it’s absolutely as safe as one’s own home. Women also need to work in shifts but shifts are followed in such a manner that they change at convenient hours so that one can travel back home safely. If a shift gets over after 10 pm then the ladies are given a home drop in the hotel car.
In today’s’ day and time most professions work round the clock so employees need to adapt to the  shifts concept, be it a hospital, a hyper mall or a petrol pump. These places are also safe for women to work.
The opportunities that the hotel industry offers are one of the best. Initially they may not be the best paying but in the due course they are also equally challenging and rewarding. In fact the merits are many such as working anywhere in the world, experiencing the product and holiday plans with family being some of them.
So when the industry holds so much potential why don’t the women who work there make great careers? We need more role models and more take charge women. Indian women in hospitality will bring such women together and create and share success stories.
 In any work culture, relationships are necessary for employees to attain professional success. Women in particular need support from people in positions of authority who use their influence intentionally to help others progress. That support and empowerment are essential to ensuring career advancement and professional development. Women may have a lot of mentors but they also need advocates or supporters, who will give them visibility, talk about their accomplishments on the board and promote them for higher opportunities.
There are very few examples of women role models in workplaces. You can’t be what you can’t see. Research shows that almost two-thirds of women reported a lack of senior or visibly successful female role models as a major obstacle to their career advancement. Not many women hold leadership roles in spite of a substantial representation at work place. Give them the wings and see them soar high. Not just they flying but they taking the entire organisation to great heights.
We have come a long way but there are miles to go before there’s fair representation and equal opportunities for women. Let’s make workplaces productive and happy not just profitable businesses. Women dream to get equal opportunities and recognition for their work, which is long due. Let’s all make that dream a reality. A woman has the power and ability to make castle with every brick thrown at her. Let them use this power to engage, inspire, motivate and empower each other.
PS: Women in Hospitality, Travel and Tourism can join the Facebook group: Indian Women in Hospitality.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/141735206638001/
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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