Airbnb celebrates female entrepreneurs breaking the glass barrier Advertisement

Airbnb celebrates its female entrepreneurs and hosts

We are a strong force. If we help each other, the sky is the limit

By ELLE team  March 9th, 2020

The world is slowly and gradually getting acquainted to the multifaceted entrepreneurial qualities inherent to women. And more and more women are employing their skills and pursuing unconventional career paths, inspiring fellow women to do the same. One industry that is increasingly playing host to women entrepreneurs is travel and hospitality. In fact, Airbnb revealed stats showing more female participation in hosting guests worldwide, as well as in India; women make up 34% of Airbnb’s Stays hosts and 40% of Experienced hosts in the country.


Simra Kodesia of Airbnb in conversation with Lara Dutta, Shivani Kumari and Pooja Dhingra

To shed more light on the achievements of women in the travel and hospitality industry, Airbnb’s #HostWithHer campaign brought together female entrepreneurs who have now become household names in India for the work they do. Actress and entrepreneur Lara Dutta, culinary expert Pooja Dhingra, executive director of the Princess Diya Kumari Foundation, Shivina Kumari, and Airbnb host Anne Jyrwa, came together for a power packed panel discussion:

Pooja Dhingra on her travels when she’s not baking and how it inspires her:

“I travelled extensively with my family since I was little but I moved to Switzerland when I was 17, that changed how I perceived things. From a sheltered environment at home you’re suddenly thrown into a new world; it’s completely different. I also do solo travel trips every year and that has given me the confidence and inspired me.”

Lara on how has travel inspired her and how it helps her think:

“Right now, my life is sort of two-fold. One is Lara, the mum, the wife, very family-oriented and the other is Lara having her own life. I love being able to travel solo or with my girlfriends. I remember when we went for our trip in China years ago, Saira (her daughter) was very small, we were in Bejing in China and stayed at some of the best hotels, but it was a nightmare. I had a toddler in my with me and in China, you can imagine how difficult it was to feed her. Airbnb coming into the scene changed that entire landscape for us; to be able to travel anywhere and make yourself at home where you have access to your kitchen, where you can do whatever you want, create an environment for your child where they have space to play, it’s priceless. The platform has given people a chance not just to open up their homes but also their hearts.”

Lara Dutta, Shivani Kumari, Pooja Dhingra, and Anne Jyrwa

Anne Jyrwa on her most rewarding experience as an Airbnb host:

“It’s difficult to say which one was most rewarding, each one has been so different and rewarding. But this one time, I was hosting an Australian couple and they asked me to make dosa. I didn’t know how to make it, so I googled the recipe and and bought the chutney from a shop. The couple wasn’t aware of the real dosa recipe, and they loved what I had prepared!”

Shivina Kumari on the one thing everyone can adopt to empower women around us:

“One of the important things is to help another woman, help women through knowledge, either through mentoring someone in your own circle or sponsoring in your communities. Also, education is such an important thing! It doesn’t have to be just formal education, teaching a skill to somebody and just sharing a little bit of what you have, the struggles that you’ve gone through as a woman, because there are so many social and cultural barriers that we as women go through in our work or homes and sometimes, just sharing or recognising that and giving that bit of sisterhood, can go a long way. We are a strong force. If we help each other, the sky is the limit.”