Pooja Priyamvada and Namita Bhattacharya lighting their fathers’ pyres
Pooja, a poet and award-winning blogger, broke several taboos this year as she empowered several people and shackled the country’s age-old beliefs in her own way. She performed all the last rites of her father. On the other hand, former PM late Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s foster daughter Namita Bhattacharya surprised the nation as she lit the funeral pyre of her father. She stood tall and lit her father’s funeral pyre amidst state honours, with world media watching.
Deepika Padukone becoming first woman in Forbes top-five richest Indian celeb list
#MeToo may have started in the West, but it has taken a big leap in India. The Indian #MeToo is empowering in more ways than one. The campaign belongs to all those women who have led the way, all those who have followed, all those who gathered the courage to come out, all those who could not, and also all those who are standing in solidarity with others. There’s still a long way to go, but let’s just say that it’s the women of this country who will drive out the age-old patriarchal system that has been giving men the right to abuse women. This empowering moment is for all the women in India who are standing their ground and shackling the age-old normalised systems.
Women farmers’ March
Lawyers fighting for LGBTQ
This year also witnessed the victory of love! This year, in a landmark decision, Supreme Court of India finally scrapped Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalised homosexuality. The judgment was long overdue. A number lawyers – men and women – through sheer commitment to the case, made it possible for the LGBTQ community to have equal rights. Ritu Dalmia, Indu Malhotra, Ayesha Kapur, Menaka Guruswamy, Jayna Kothari and Akkai Padmashali are some of the women flag-bearers fighting for the case.
Everything concerned with the Sabarimala temple will go down in history as an important event that smashed patriarchy and its age-old traditions. Even after the Supreme Court order that allowed women to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala’s Tirupati, women are still facing massive resistance from devotee associations and Hindu outfits. The hill shrine, where now women of any age can enter, saw activist Rehana Fathima along with journalist Kavita Jakkal becoming the only two women who could reach closest to the temple. But really, this empowering moment goes to all the women out there, who have been fighting hard to enter the temple and access their rights.
Author Twinkle Khanna, who turned producer with Padman, brought to the surface the ground reality of taboos linked with menstruation. Padman, a real life story of Arunachalam Muruganantham, who resolved to make the world’s first low-cost sanitary pad making machine to help solve a major societal problem, not only started an empowering dialogue, but also changed several perceptions over the past one year.
Priyanka Chopra ruling the year all the way
Sania Mirza naming her baby Mirza Malik
Tennis player Sania Mirza and Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik welcomed their baby boy in October. The two chose to add both their surnames to their baby. The couple, who married in 2010, had made a unique announcement in April this year about Mirza’s pregnancy. In her announcement, she used an illustration of closets while making it different for a boy and a girl. She captioned the photo “#BabyMirzaMalik”. Sania had also featured on the cover of JW Magazine during her pregnancy. The magazine, which focused on her take on motherhood, quoted her saying, “Pregnancy is not a deterrent. It empowers and inspires.”
Kasibhatta -Telangana’s youngest woman engineer
Hima Das appointed as youth ambassador by UNICEF
Vaishali became India’s youngest grandmaster this year. After winning her third and last Woman Grandmaster (WGM) norm earlier in the 8th Riga Technical University (RTU) Open Chess Tournament held in Riga, Latvia, R Vaishali became India’s latest Woman Grandmaster (WGM). Vaishali is the elder sister of R Praggnanandhaa who became the second youngest GM in the world in June this year.