8th March — International Women’s Day —- Now celebrated all over the world!
Initially known as International Working Women’s Day, it emerged as a special event in 1910. In 1908, in New York 15,000 women marched through the city demanding shorter work hours, better pay, voting rights and an end to child labour.
Much has been achieved since those days, and yet, much remains to be done in the fight for gender equality.
For Thomas Cook India, every day is Women’s Day, because we do not need a special day to commemorate it. Our organisation has always recognized and honoured the contribution of its women employees, so we celebrate 8th March just to reiterate and confirm this!
This year it was rather special, since our sister companies across the Group all joined together to celebrate.
At 11 a.m, all women employees were connected, through a Pan-India Conference Call, where lady speakers from all entities shared their challenging experiences, their stories of hope, liberation and triumph. The theme on this day was “Emerging from the Shadow”. Our Chairman & MD, Madhavan Menon, opened the call with a cheerful and positive “Power to all the ladies!”
In his address to the staff, Madhavan said, “Two very important points need to be brought into focus. The first is Gender Diversity. We, as an organization, need more women in the workplace, and should increase the ratio to at least 30%. The second important feature is to realize that we live in an environment where harassment has become more apparent. We all need to recognize it as an issue that needs to be dealt with, and how we as a company deal with it. It is important to create awareness, to ensure the safety of our staff.”
Madhavan ended by saying, “Ours is an industry conducive to providing an adequate space for women, so we should encourage more lady employees to join our workplace.”
Mona Cheriyan, President & Group Head-Human Resources, also spoke on the conference call, saying: “The given theme was ‘Emerging from the Shadow’…. My question is, What IS the shadow? What holds you back? It usually isn’t just one thing.” Sharing some of her own life experiences, Mona felt several factors hold us back in our lives. But we should try and focus on the things that also take us forward. We need to examine what we need to move ahead.
“Life is all about choices,” she said, “Although other people may not agree with your choices, once you take a decision have the courage of your convictions and go for it. If you feel it is the wrong choice, cut your losses and reinvent yourself.”
Mona also felt it was important for women to find the right partner or person who would understand them and support them in all they did.
Other speakers included Tina Engineer & Gunjan Suri – Thomas Cook, Heeral Shah – SOTC, Saira Vaz and Aakriti Sharma – SITA
HR coordinated with the Marketing team for the creatives, and intriguing flyers were posted by email across the offices creating excitement, leading up to the event.
As you walked into our flagship Thomas Cook office at Marathon Futurex on that day, you were greeted by a bunch of pink helium balloons bobbing around the work area, cheerful and welcoming. Employees were encouraged to leave appreciative post-it messages for their lady colleagues on a common board.
Women love to be pampered, so there were stalls to browse in—Theo Organics, Feast @ East, and Velvet Case Jewellery. A nutritionist was present to answer all related queries.
And then came the fun part!
In a surprise swoop, there was a sudden burst of music and a flash mob came dancing down the central corridor of the Marathon office, followed by some group singing. The rest of the staff were delighted and joined in with gusto! Dinesh Ahuja kept things lively with his witty and cheerful compering.
Women’s Day not only honors the power of a woman, but also highlights the pain and anguish she has successfully battled over the years.
We are so proud of the way our organization takes care of its women employees, and nurtures them with respect and honour. It not only celebrates the power of women – but acknowledges and appreciates their rights and their roles in our lives and society.
Click on the links below and see bits of it come alive!