WICCI and ISH together launch a whitepaper on gender equity in India’s hospitality industry

Sharing thought-provoking insights with the world, WICCI Hospitality and Tourism collaborated with Indian School of Hospitality to publish findings of their research on ‘Evaluation of the State of Gender Equity in India’s Hospitality Industry’.
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First copy of the whitepaper was presented to Additional Director General of the Ministry of Tourism, Rupinder Brar (centre) by (from left to right) Kanika Hasrat, Dr. Payal Kumar, and Dilip Puri.

It took Dr. Payal Kumar, the Dean of Research and Management Studies, Indian School of Hospitality (ISH), a year and many rounds of in-depth interviews to conduct the research titled ‘Evaluation of the State of Gender Equity in India’s Hospitality Industry’. The whitepaper was commissioned to ISH by WICCI Hospitality and Tourism and supported by Brigade Hospitality. Its findings were officially launched on March 10, 2022, at Le Meridien New Delhi in the presence of Rupinder Brar, Additional Director General of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.

Kumar, along with her team, conducted 23 in-depth interviews of executives at senior and mid-level positions in various organisations. The sample size included both female and male professionals, coming 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 a number of prejudices and barriers to women who aspire for top leadership roles, and were broadly put under three categories: Individual Level, Group Level, and Firm Level. It was found out that at the individual level, women employees face more work-life pressure than their male counterparts, for their networking capabilities are underestimated and it is assumed that they face mobility issues when they have to travel for work. At the group level, stereotyping by colleagues, preconceived notions, and paternalistic attitudes of bosses are a major hindrance. At the firm level, lack of mentoring opportunities and gender stereotypes by employers pose a grave challenge.

Talking about the research, Kumar said, “We live in an overtly patriarchal society, where women are expected to excel as employees at work and primary caregivers at home to children and elderly in-laws.” She goes on to say, “The study makes it clear that for women in India, to reach the top of the booming hospitality industry, they not only need talent and drive but also deep structures of organisational and familial support”.

Dilip Puri, Founder & CEO, ISH, said, “We’re proud to work with WICCI Hospitality and Tourism on this whitepaper and be the frontrunners in conducting the research. With women making up for more than half of our faculty and staff, we make a conscious effort to promote equality and diversity. With this initiative, we aim to bring about a positive change in policies and make the industry a more progressive space for people, irrespective of their gender”.

Kanika Hasrat, National President of WICCI Hospitality and Tourism, and Area Director, IHCL, said on the occasion, “This is a one-of-a-kind initiative by the WICCI Hospitality & Tourism in collaboration with Indian School of Hospitality. Ms Brar has been an integral part of the study’s initiation and receives her first copy of the whitepaper today. I would encourage the industry to review this research on with a keen eye. It will help us work together to recalibrate our businesses and make them truly inclusive”.

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