By Kiran Manral
Women who showed us we can. Who broke high ceilings and new ground. Those who lifted their art and games to a new stand, those who brought global sunshine and displayed compassion and empathy. There was so much to learn from these five women.
Because of her dazzling, bright smile before her run up to the vault at Rio 2016 that would decide her place in posterity. Because of her dare devil gumption in risking the deadly ‘Produnova‘ vault, a term which swiftly made it into the lexicon of a nation that hung their medal hopes onto a sport they had never hoped to have a contention in, on her slight, determined shoulders. Because she made history by being the first Indian woman to qualify for the finals in gymnastics, a sport that has seen on 11 men qualify, the last being in 1964.
Goal Busters: Women who mattered & shattered the ceiling in 2016 by Kiran Manral
Because of her gentle humaneness in dealing personally with the panic-stricken appeals she receives as a neverending stream on twitter. Because of her forthrightness in informing the world about her hospitalisation in an era where any admission of illness in the political world is cloaked in secrecy and speculation. Because of her willingness to help people who reach out to her, even while she is hospitalised with a kidney ailment. For the quiet dignity with which she conducts herself in a world that is blaring for attention and TRPs.
Because she showed us that determination and grit can conquer everything, including cancer and disability. Because with her silver at the Rio Summer 2016 Paralympics she told every woman in India that what matters is the determination to do what one wants to do, if that is in place, the rest will fall into place, never mind the lack of facilities and the system. Because she, with her gumption to do what she has, she inspires me to try to do what I might.
Because she is the first woman to be the Chair-Managing director of the State Bank of India. Because she is the first woman to be the Chairperson of State Bank of India. Because in 2016, she was listed as the 25th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes and was ranked among the FP Top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine. And because she was also named the 4th most powerful women in Asia Pacific by Fortune magazine this year. Because she is the glass ceiling shattered, and an inspiration to all the young women entering the banking sector that no, gender is not a barrier to the top spot, if one is capable.
Because she upped the game in a way that no one would have ever imagined, leaving the male superstars of the industry far far behind. Because she took her international titles and built herself a career in Bollywood with them. Because she kept pushing the envelope with her choice of roles, and risked a singing career when all she could have done was continue with the tried and tested. And because she took the leap of faith to go from being a top star in Bollywood to a network headliner in the US with Quantico. And because she will now be seen in Baywatch opposite Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock in 2017, and that makes the offspring really chuffed.