When women set out to achieve something, they really break barriers, overcome the battles and emerge victorious. Today, women are attaining great heights from heading male-dominated corporate firms, becoming worldwide sensations, pursuing their passions in art, joining unconventional sectors like firefighting, security forces and so on. While gender equality in these spheres may not have been achieved, we are definitely on the right track.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Don’t get bogged down by criticism.
  • There will be people who will expect a lot of different things from you, who will try to put you in boxes, but you have to focus on your goal.
  • With persistence and perseverance, you can achieve what you set out for.
  • Women who attain leadership in legacy business have to struggle doubly hard to prove their worth.

To celebrate women’s achievements on the eve of International Women’s Day, the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry under its PHD-KAS Project organised Women Achievers Summit. It focussed on women marking their striking presence across fields spanning industry, entrepreneurship, politics and public service, art, literature and sports. Eminent women like JetSetGo founder Kanika Tekriwal, IAS officer Rakhee Gupta Bhandari, Former DIG Sutapa Sanyal, mountaineer Sangeeta Sindhi Bahl among many others shared their stories in the gathering.

women achievers
Women Achievers Summit

It’s not an easy journey for a young woman in her early 20s to become an entrepreneur in the aviation industry but Tekriwal smashed the obstacles in order to make her venture known as the ‘Uber of the aircrafts’. “When I had just started off and was holding the initial meeting, a lot of people told me to start a bakery business instead,” she said.

CHANGE IN OUTLOOK TOWARDS WOMEN

As women are making an effort to break stereotypes, it is bound to make the society uncomfortable. But this unsettled state is necessary for us a change. Stressing on the point of celebrating all days as women’s day, Anita Nayyar, CEO India and South Asia, Havas Media Group talked about how her career in advertising came through despite her education in microbiology.

“Decades back when I stumbled upon the media industry, people only thought of women as models in the industry. When I joined, there were very few women in media, but a lot has changed since then. Today, we have stopped objectifying women in advertising as we do more of acts than ads like #ShareTheLoad. Through ads, companies are trying to participate in gender equality dialogue that women can coexist with men and have equal financial independence,” noted Nayyar.

Panellists Sonica Malhotra, MD of MBD Group expressed the challenges of not being taken seriously when you come from a legacy where women have to prove doubly hard to establish their worth, as she had to.

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WOMEN IN SERVICES SPEAK

From entrepreneurship to women in services, Sanyal, the first female IPS officer to serve Uttar Pradesh, said that she was the only woman amidst 78 male officers in the National Police Academy. “You are only answerable to yourself. There will always be people who will expect lots of different things from you, who will try to put you in boxes but then you have to realize that you have a goal and so you have to stop thinking about the other. You are your only limitation,” she advised.

IAS Bhandari also shared her wisdom from when she was first inducted as the resident commissioner in Punjab. She said that initially, the bureaucrats spoke to the CM about how they can induct a woman IAS officer in the state but six months down the lane, they understood the worth of the woman IAS that she is. “We may look daunting to you but women are responsible and just in their work and so one has to accept us as we are,” said Bhandari.

“You are only answerable to yourself. There will always be people who will expect lots of different things from you, who will try to put you in boxes but then you have to realize that you have a goal and so you have to stop thinking about the other. You are your only limitation.”

When it comes to art, culture, music and literature and women’s representation in these arenas, we are well aware of how women have fought to make their own space. While doing amazing work, there are still gaps that cause disruption and talking about it, Hindustani Classical Singer Rekha Surya recounted that when she started off and expressed her desire to have a career in singing, she was told that if you want to become a singer then forget having a social life until the age of 30. “But I persisted, I had my own style of singing and I made sure that I sing the way I wanted to.”

The summit encompassed a variety of voices of women achievers who not only spoke about the challenges they faced, but how they overcame them to the best of their abilities. There is a dire need for such conversations to happen, which reflect on women’s power to Dare To Be—an initiative that Rinku Paul started to identify women in different fields beyond the ones advocating financial independence but also emotional and mental independence.

More Stories by Poorvi Gupta

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