Airbnb has partnered with the Self-Employed Women's Association of India (SEWA), which represents more than 1.5 million self-employed women mostly in rural India.
The Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA) was established in 1972 with the aim of empowering women in the textile industry. SEWA is India's only national union of women working in the unorganized sector, with over 1.5 million members spread across 18 states.
Airbnb is an online platform for accommodation and tourism activities, especially homestays for vacation rentals. Its headquarters are located in San Francisco, California.
On March 6, 2021, the Dekho Apna DeshWebinar series of the Ministry of Tourism conducted its 79th webinar, titled "Weaving Growth of Rural India with SEWA & Airbnb India." Since March 8th is International Women's Day, the topic was fitting for highlighting the strength of women in the tourism industry as well as the challenges that arise.
This collaboration provides visitors with a special and authentic cultural and heritage experience while also providing an income stream for women entrepreneurs from all walks of life. More than 4500 guests from over 15 countries have visited 40 SEWA Homestays so far.
Gauriben and Meetaben, two of SEWA's most active and oldest members who run homestays, spoke about their experiences hosting guests in their homes and how it has helped them develop not only economically but also technologically and knowledge-wise.
The tourism sector currently employs 12.95 percent of all Indians in direct and indirect employment, and given the increasing interest in experiential tourism, there are numerous economic advantages for local people, especially for women entrepreneurs.
The webinar focused on women's empowerment by enhancing the livelihoods of self-employed women in the informal economy through various initiatives such as technology, technical training, and microfinance.