This International Women’s DayAirbnb celebrated the journey of Airbnb Hosts and guests through a panel event featuring actor and author Soha Ali Khan, singer and songwriter Lisa Mishra, entrepreneur Kirti Poonia and Airbnb Host Kakoli, and I had the chance to witness and hear these inspiring, beautiful women. While the ladies candidly shared stories about their personal and professional lives, what fascinated me was how they are leaving a mark in their respective fields and paving way for many more such women. The panelists also shared their thoughts on ‘Embrace Equity’, which is this year’s theme for International Women’s Day. 

An amazing thing to note here is that women power – Airbnb’s Host community in India as well as globally. In fact, as per Airbnb’s internal data, Airbnb women Hosts in India cumulatively earned over INR 1 billion in 2022. In addition to this, women Hosts over 60 years of age on Airbnb earned more than INR 200 million in India in 2022, and for many of them, hosting provides essential income that aids in their retirement. If that wasn’t amazing enough, women constitute for more than half of Airbnb’s Host community globally! What a beautiful testament to women power, isn’t it? 

Coming back to the panel discussion, while talking about embracing equity, Soha shared, “I feel ecstatic to see a shift in the needle with regards to women empowerment, especially in India but I still feel that we have a long way to go. I am a firm believer and propagator of gender equity. I applaud Airbnb’s efforts in helping women in the hospitality industry embrace equity and take on roles that truly make them happy, whilst working towards an independent future.”

Airbnb Host Kakoli who has been hosting in Delhi NCR and Pondicherry since 2013 also said, “I started my journey as a Host on Airbnb when I ventured into the world of hospitality knowing nothing about the intricacies of running a business. Airbnb was a platform that made it easy for me to start and I’ve had the pleasure of hosting guests from across the world and have also had the opportunity to hire more staff that helps me maintain and provide the ‘Superhost’ experience that my guests enjoy. Airbnb has enabled me, and many more such women, to gain financial independence over the years, and establish a successful entrepreneurial venture.”

Lisa, who is an avid traveler and has traveled with Airbnb on multiple occasions, added, “Travel has always been a passion of mine, and as an artist, I believe it’s the best way to seek inspiration. Through my travels with Airbnb, I have had the opportunity to visit some truly striking destinations, each one leaving a unique impression on me. But what really warms my heart is the chance to interact with some wonderful women along the way. It’s inspiring to see women embracing equity and carving out a path to their independence.”

Kirti also shared… “I’ve been fortunate to witness the inspiring entrepreneurial spirit of women through my journey transitioning from a traditional management career to one in entrepreneurship and fashion. I have come across a lot of strong women who not only focus on their own growth but also nurture the growth of those around them. As an avid Airbnb user, I have witnessed this same entrepreneurial spirit amongst several women who have had the chance to become Airbnb Hosts and are empowering the community around them. I am extremely happy to be here celebrating the stories of such remarkable women who continue to embody women empowerment.”

Well, Airbnb has truly had an inspiring start to Women’s Day this year and after hearing all these fun and inspiring stories of travel and self-discovery, I am tempted to plan my next trip very soon! Who knows, maybe Pondicherry is the place to go, and I know for sure which Airbnb I am staying at! Here’s wishing you all a very Happy Women’s Day, and keep traveling!