Today is International Women’s Day — a day dedicated to celebrating the achievements of women, raising awareness against bias, and, crucially, taking action for equality every day.
Gender equality is not a female issue, it’s a social and economic imperative. It’s vital that we include men in this equation. After all, they make up about half of the global population — not to mention the majority of the leadership positions. (According to McKinsey & LeanIn’s latest Women in the Workplace Report, men hold 79 percent of the C-suite — and if we’re looking at CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, male representation balloons to 93 percent.) The best way to move the conversation to action is to include all of us in the equation.
To take the conversation forward, we spoke to a few of the top travel industry leaders on how the women workforce contributes to the growth of their organization.
“While every day is an important day to celebrate the women in our lives and their important
contributions to society, International Women’s Day gives us that opportunity and reason to show our support and express our sincere gratitude. At the workplace, the women in our team have constantly inspired us with their dedication and hard work. Women are the real architects of society that help us build an inspiring work culture and also foster bonding among team members.
On this special occasion, thank you to my fellow colleagues Diksha Batra, Leena Talwalkar, Sapna Srivastava, Nehali Jain and Manisha Joshi for being that force in our working lives. These well-wishes would be incomplete without also thanking the mind behind this meaningful campaign, Anita Jain Shah and all our dynamic ladies of the Travel Fraternity. Thank you all for being there with us. Life would be very bland without all of you.”
Naresh Rawal, Vice President – Sales (India & South Asia), Genting Cruise Lines
“International Women’s Day is a great occasion to show our appreciation to all the courageous
women that had impacted and made a difference in our lives. For me, women have been a great source of inspiration with their amazing ability to multi-task in various spheres of life and at a high level of commitment. I do not have to look far to be inspired as such remarkable women are available on our cruise ships.
As part of the entertainment team, both my colleagues Faye Lamela and Helen Seredich, who are both Cruise Directors on World Dream and Explorer Dream respectively, are leading examples that we all can be proud of. Through hard work, perseverance, dedication and strong team-work, both ladies are indeed positive role models, spearheading the entertainment team to new heights for each ship. The world definitely needs more women like you both and I know, that both of you will not only continue to inspire me but also those on the ships and beyond.
Happy International Women’s Day to all the women from every walk of life!”
Mathew Joseph, Cruise Director, Genting Cruise Lines
“While most will talk about how women workforce is more disciplined and hardworking, I would like to differ. In our organization, they follow a simple motto, ‘If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.’ And I think it is there where the magic happens. Though we are a small organization, we highly appreciate our women workforce for bringing in creativity, loads of laughter and at the same time teaching us to work smart and bring balance in professional and personal life. A big thank you to Anita Shah, Shalmali Pethe, Zankana Zaveri, Khyati Shah and Shashikiran Sharma for being the mischief-makers and at the same time the true trailblazers of our organisation.”
Anand Shah, Creative Head, The Digital Travellers
“The occasion of International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to spotlight the invaluable contributions made by women across sectors. Especially in the tourism industry, whereby their perseverance and unbridled passion has helped us to remain ahead of the curve. Driven by a strong women-centric workforce, over the years our organisation has benefitted from their telescopic attention to detail, ability to multi-task and superior execution skills. Each of which are admirable qualities that have not only inspired those around them to better themselves, but are also instrumental in exceeding our key objectives, each year.”
Nishant Kashikar, Country Manager – India & Gulf, Tourism Australia
“At Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), we are committed to providing a work environment that offers professional excellence and gender equality not just on International Women’s Day, but every day of the year. Our dedication to creating and maintaining a diverse and equal workforce is demonstrated at all levels in our organisation, and we are proud and honoured to celebrate the numerous achievements of NCL’s dynamic female leaders and team members who continue to be integral to our ongoing success.”
Manoj Singh, Country Head – India, Norwegian Cruise Lines
“The modern woman has changed the workplace conversation with respect to their place in the workforce, bringing to light issues and obstacles they face in their day to day life at the workplace. Our organization is the epitome of new India’s working-class women who bring a reflection of true hard work and an enigma of reaching new heights with the highest level of dedication.
The combination of great minds with young energy, the zeal of the women at our workplace is unmatched.
My wife Priyanka Nijhawan, has been my business partner for almost 10 years now, leading the team for our representation vertical. With her experience in the trade, she fosters the element of creativity and innovation within the workspace and brings a crisp leadership to the table. I strongly believe that businesses with genuine gender diversity especially at seniority levels perform much better with a significant increase in the performance index.”
Ankush Nijhawan, MD, Nijhawan Group
“At Karvat Group, we are lucky to work with powerful women at every level. They supported the
organization to overcome daunting challenges through their resilient nature especially during the pandemic, and continue to make significant strides introducing revolutionary ideas for today’s times. I witnessed first-hand, how these trailblazing women adapted to every situation with such ease and elan, be it at home or work. I draw my strength from them and I am proud to have such women leaders at work, as they truly build an inspiring work culture and enable the company to grow from strength to strength to its full potential.”
Dev Karvat – Founder & CEO, Karvat Group
“At StreetGooser women comprise a significant segment of our workforce and having women in
the workplace makes our organization a better place to work in all spheres. Diversity from
gender to culture has been shown to foster creativity and innovation in our organization. Our
operations and the various department is led by Women's leadership. We believe that men and
women have inevitably different experiences and backgrounds which shape their approach to
business differently. Women can breed creativity and promote innovative ideas which helped
pushed our organization and paved way for greater heights.”
John Varghese, CEO, StreetGooser Tech
“Women are leaders everywhere you look — from the CEO who runs a Fortune 500 company to the housewife who raises her children and heads her household. Today’s women leaders are defying stereotypes and We, as men, should support them and stand strong With them as only than We will be able to bring the change. Our travel industry is lead by determined women leaders and women workforce. I’m truly thankful to each and every woman team member of our organisation across the world for helping us build a strong organisation with their talent, hard work and dedication.”
B.A.Rahim, Founder & Consultant, OneAbove
“Women heading a business, running it successfully and emerging as one of the industry leaders in no longer a story of myths & legends!
Like any other industry, the travel industry is no longer dependent on just the men! It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the leading ladies not only make up the top management but continue to excel in their own ways. Veena Patil in the West, Jyoti Mayal in the North, Mandira Kapoor in the East, Rani Bachani in the South, Nalini Gupta, Ratna Chadha, Aditi Bhende, Aparna Chaturvedi, Nagsri, Poonam Singh, Megha Sharma, Vasundha Saundhi and the list goes on!!
An interesting fact is that more than 50 per cent of my staff strength is made up of women and have been instrumental in our success over the years.
The future is female & we should all be excited about what’s to come!”
Pradeep Saboo, MD, Guideline Travels
“The contribution made by the Women Workforce not only to the overall success of our business but to the development of society, in general, is immense and immeasurable. Any task given to her in the office is managed & completed very efficiently, with a smile, with soft gloves and without much drama. The women workforce is the backbone or spine of the company holding the structure strong and straight.
The inborn trait of multitasking, infinite empathy towards one and all, diligence in completing whatever work that is given to her efficiently and in a timely manner, putting the interest of others before self, the attitude of sacrifice, ability to share her love in every role of life that she plays, and above all becoming the backbone of the company & family are qualities which are incomparable and what makes her special and her contribution to the growth special.
As far as my friend & life partner Maitreyee is concerned – her fighting spirit, not accepting NO as an answer, being forthright and frank, her intelligence, attitude to help & care about each and everyone whether known or unknown to her, is what I appreciate about her and inspires me. In fact, all the Women workforce in the office look up to her as a role model which is very very heartwarming.“
Mahendra Vakaria, MD, Pathfinders Holidays
“Even though I may be the face of Cirrus Travels in bringing in the corporate travel business and handling operations, the role played by the backbone: Sapna is ever so important. She effortlessly manages the roles of HR and finance, apart from handling the leisure segment of our company. For a woman to dedicate full time to business and manage home is commendable and she has been doing this since 1997. We have seen some very tough times but she has sailed through them all.”
Rajesh Rateria, Director, Cirrus Travels
“The women in our organisation, ‘Vinaayak Holidays’ have been essential, proficient workers who were able to ideate lucrative strategies that helped sustain the organisation during the pandemic. The travel industry needs to celebrate women for their efforts and progress by giving less importance to gender roles and stereotypes and more importance to the value that they bring to different sectors within.More power to the boss ladies!”Vinayakk Laud, CEO / Partner, Vinaayak Holidays
“Woman! Not only does this word sound strong, impactful and invincible but is actually the adjectives used to describe the people to whom this title belongs. There are no blur lines to how many roles a woman plays in her day-to-day life. And of course, they have come a long way in overcoming all obstacles they faced.In today’s world, women are as active as they have ever been, making the workplace well built and have set the pace for a workforce that welcomes them with respect. It is undeniable that women have the ability to accomplish in every field of work. And talking of the travel industry, women have emerged as pillars of strength and hard work. The female workforce in my organization and business overpowers the latter, in totality and diligence.My daughter, Tanushka Kaur Anand, has worked day and night to reach the stage she is today. She manages her multiple work life and never fails to deliver her work with utmost perfection in all her fields. I am truly proud and look up to her, not only because she is my daughter but because she has made her way through her efforts, skills, confidence & courage.”Harmandeep Singh Anand, MD, Global Panorama Showcase & Jagsons Travels
Equality isn’t a leadership issue; it’s a leadership opportunity. And because men currently hold the majority of leadership positions, they have the unique opportunity to take action and spearhead change. International Women’s Day may officially be one day, but really, it’s every day. So I challenge each of you, regardless of the gender you identify with or the position you hold, to commit to one action to advance equality. It can be as small as listening, or as big as changing organizational policies, but I promise you that its impact will be enormous.