If we look at the problem in the hospitality and tourism industry, the fastest growing industries in India that represent 6.8% of the total GDP of the country and create 39 million jobs, we see that the industry is still dealing with several staffing issues that need to be addressed as they exist today.
By Pradeep Chamaria
In 2022, on the occasion of International Women’s Day, the world discussed gender equality and celebrated the day with the theme “Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Future” with the hashtag #BreakTheBias. If we look at the problem in the hospitality and tourism industry, the fastest growing industries in India that represent 6.8% of the total GDP of the country and create 39 million jobs, we see that the industry is still dealing with several staffing issues that need to be addressed as they exist today.
The notable trend in the hospitality industry in India is gender equality, given the clear preference for men in senior positions and women for more junior positions. Common industry biases are that women can’t handle the pressures of long hours and night shifts, nor are they able to maintain a healthy work-life interface. Other obstacles to the development of female leadership in various sectors include developmental discrepancies and cultural discouragement.
The issue called for an investigation into the antecedents of gender inequality in leadership roles for women in the hospitality industry in India, and the Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (WICCI), Hospitality & Tourism Council (established in 2017 with the aim of women’s inclusiveness in the workplace), and the Indian School of Hospitality (ISH), India (a higher education institution focused on reshaping hospitality education for today’s generation and tomorrow’s businesses) took the issue seriously and conducted the investigation. The study was commissioned by WICCI Hospitality and Tourism and supported by Brigade Hospitality with ISH as the lead research body for the unique study, with Dr. Payal Kumar, Dean of Research and Management Studies at ISH as principal investigator.
The Additional Director General of the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. from India, Ms Rupinder Brar, integral to the initiation of the study, officially launched the Approach Study on Gender Equality in the Indian Hospitality Industry on March 10, 2022.
For this research, Dr. Payal Kumar and her team conducted 23 in-depth interviews with executives in senior and mid-level positions in various organizations. The sample size included male and female professionals at various levels such as Managing Director, Senior Vice President, Country Head, General Manager and Director Human Resources. These executives came from a range of hospitality brands across India including Marriott International, IHG Hotels & Resorts, Sarovar Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Radisson Hotel Group, Accor, OYO, Hotelivate, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Lemon Tree Hotels , Indian Hotels Company Limited, Fortune Hotels and Hyatt Hotels & Resorts.
The study revealed several biases and barriers for women aspiring to leadership roles, which were broadly classified into three categories:
On an individual level: female employees face more work pressure than their male colleagues. Their networking capabilities are underestimated and they are believed to face mobility issues when traveling for work.
At the group level: Stereotyping by colleagues, prejudice and patronizing attitudes of bosses are a major barrier.
At the company level: A lack of mentoring opportunities and gender stereotypes by employers is a major challenge.
Speaking of the research, Dr. Payal: “We live in an overtly patriarchal society, where women are expected to excel as workers at work and primary caregivers at home for children and elderly in-laws.” She continued: “The survey makes clear that to reach the top of the thriving hospitality industry, women in India need not only talent and drive, but also deep structures of organizational and family support.”
DilipPuri, Founder and CEO, Indian School of Hospitality, also said, “We are proud to partner with WICCI Hospitality and Tourism on this white paper and to be the frontrunners in conducting research on gender equality. This research will be a big step in raising awareness about the issues women face, and will help make hospitality more inclusive. It is clear that while women occupy top positions in other sectors, they are often underrepresented in the hospitality and tourism sectors. With this initiative, we want to bring about positive change in policy and make the industry a more progressive space for people, regardless of gender.”
Ms Kanika Hasrat, National President of WICCI Hospitality and Tourism and Area Director, IHCL also said: “This is a unique initiative of the WICCI Hospitality & Tourism Council in partnership with Indian School of Hospitality. I would like to encourage the industry to share this research with a sharp eye. It will help us work together to recalibrate our businesses and make them truly inclusive. The women at WICCI Hospitality and Tourism work with industry partners to build focused conversations, provide mentorship opportunities, create an equal playing field for women and instilling a culture of diversity in leadership It is with this clear and ultimate goal of more women in leadership that we will all thrive.”
Ms. Ritu Chawla Mathur, National Vice President of WICCI Hospitality and Tourism and Managing Partner Prognosis Global Consulting added: “There couldn’t be a more appropriate time than Women’s Recognition Month to launch our research on gender equality, along with the This year’s IWD theme ‘Gender Equality for a Sustainable Future’ is all about changing the way the industry perceives the power of women.”
(The author is a well-known travel writer. The opinions expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of Financial Express Online.)
This post Assessing the State of Gender Equality in the Indian Hospitality Industry was original published at “https://www.financialexpress.com/lifestyle/travel-tourism/evaluation-of-the-state-of-gender-equity-in-indias-hospitality-industry/2461566/”