Women have accomplished incredible benchmarks for decades, not just in the domain of travel and tourism, but in the verticals of economic, political and social contributions at the same time. The travel and tourism sector in particular is bestowed with 54% women representation across the globe, although there remain some aspects where the women-kind is still on the lookout to set a footprint with excellence.
On International Women’s Day, T3 takes the opportunity to draw a spotlight on our women readers from cross-section of the industry. Sheetal Munshaw, Director, Atout France India, shares her views with T3.
What is your opinion regarding the presence of an effective mechanism for monitoring and assessment of the progress made by women in the tourism domain?
In today’s times of gender equality, I think there should not be any differentiation between the progress made by men and women. I strongly believe that talent and recognition should be made based on merit and talent and not gender distinction. In today’s contemporary landscape, women have benefited from many more opportunities than they did in the past and are able to prove their worth in no matter what field they choose. Women today have made a strong case for themselves in all domains related to tourism and we see women at the helm of organizations, in key decision making roles and piloting teams competently. Women are a force to reckon with but in no way should be considered inferior or superior to men. It should be a level playing field for all.
Where are we lacking in terms of initiatives, skill development and training, and implementation of women empowerment activities by industry?
The industry has always adapted and changed with times. In today’s day and age, I do think that the industry has graciously welcomed women at key roles and has only lauded their progress as it has happened. I do think that slowly and steadily, the concept of gender discrimination should cease to exist. We should not head towards a situation where there is a reverse bias against women. Women should be empowered because they are worthy of it and because they possess the skillset for it and not just because of their gender.
What are the factors that create hindrances to a healthy ecosystem for women entrepreneurs in tourism?
A constant comparison to men, this emphasis on women entrepreneurs v/s men entrepreneurs creates unnecessary hindrances. We are in the 21st century and in a world, a socio-economic environment that is fast paced and predominantly result oriented, let us focus on results, achievements, and the people who bring about change in society rather than restricting our vision to gender based roles and accomplishments.
What is your message for budding women entrepreneurs in the travel & tourism domain?
My only advice to budding women entrepreneurs would be to believe in their dreams, to trust their vision and have faith in their abilities and capacities. Today, there is nothing that a woman cant do if she sets out to achieve something. The most important is to never stop believing and to have faith in oneself.