A platform for voices supporting women's rights
This is the news that all-women travel groups are on the rise in India. Historically, only elderly or widowed women would travel in groups, ingrained patriarchy in India dictates that women should be chaperoned by a male relatives. However, improvements in education, employment and income have produced a wealth women who are eager to push the boundaries of custom.
In typical Indian families, women are expected to manage household chores, raise children, as well as provide for their husband’s needs. It is thought that alongside these pressures on women, the increasing expectation that they should also be well educated has led women to seek an escape with other like-minded ladies.
With a growing number of urban, educated Indian women expressing the desire to travel, many women-only travel groups have mushroomed across the country to address this need and this captive market. “In a typical Indian family holiday women end up in a role-playing mode of being a mother, wife, daughter and are often unable to experience a destination as an individual,” says Piya Bose, owner of Mumbai-based women’s travel group, GOTG (Girls on the Go).
Sumitra Senapathy, a travel writer, is a pioneer in the industry and founded her travel club exclusively for women called WOW (Women on Wanderlust) eight years ago. She recalls it being a “humble home enterprise” but it grew 100 percent year on year with women learning about it through “word of mouth”. The WOW club organises some 75 tours annually, out of which about half are international trips. Besides assuring quality and comfortable hotels, travellers can choose from a range of experiences like adventure trips, leisure and wellness, historic site visits and unique cultural attractions.
The women-only travel groups all have well established websites and use social media networks to spread the message of their travel business. They also accommodate or include Mommies and Kids only trips when women cannot leave their children behind at home. “We’re not a travel agency” Senapathy says, “but a travel platform for women to come together and share exciting experiences.”