While we just got over with welcoming another rocking year, the International Women’s Day is upon us. Here’s a cheer on for all the women who worked hard towards in calling out prevalent gender equality. So, this Women’s Day, lets say cheers to the women influencers! Young women who are revolutionising gender issues are worthy of this praise.
20-year-old Gurmehar Kaur is not a new name. She launched the #ProfileForPeace campaign last April, pitching for peace between India and Pakistan. She raised her voice against violence on campuses in the wake of clashes in Ramjas College, during the ‘Save DU campaign’. Kaur advocated for students’ right to freedom of speech, thus becoming one of the main influencers in 2017. The gutsy DU girl reminded the country that beating up students isn’t nationalism but a violent attack on democracy.
This 16-year-old is introducing under-privileged women to cloth pads. Even though many women from economically poor sections of the society use cloth during menstruation, it has been noticed that most of them are unaware of menstrual hygiene. Sanjana discovered the gap when she walked into the washroom of Thayi Mane, a children’s home in Sarjapura, Bangalore. She was in Class 10 then. A regular volunteer at the place, she was celebrating her birthday, when it suddenly occurred to her of how did the girls there manage their period. She understood the sanitation requirements, raised funds and started organizing workshops to educate the women and girls about the advantages of using napkins.
This 20-year-old is making a lot of buzz as a self-defence instructor. She empowers women to defend themselves. Pooja Nagpal, a Manhattan Beach resident who began her freshman year at UCL Berkeley in 2016, won the 2016 Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes. She worked with 1,000 girls in India– teaching them the power of self-defence. Pooja has been working tirelessly towards training women since she was in the high school. She is also eyeing to acquire the third-degree black belt. Only 25 students from across North America have earned the Gloria Barron Prize and only 15 of them have bagged a $5,000 scholarship from fantasy author T.A. Barron for their efforts to make a positive change in the world. She also has a non-profit called For A Change.
The famous Geeta Phogat is doing all possible work for her wrestling sisters and is leaving no stone unturned to make India a country of sportswomen. Commonwealth gold medalists, Geeta has opened a wrestling academy in Bengaluru that promises to empower aspirant girls. Geeta is already a role model to many girls across the country. Her aim is to realize the unnoticed dreams of those hundreds of girls through this academy.
Malala Yousafzai’s story is not new to the world. She is the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner. At 15, she survived a Taliban attack. But instead of being scared, she was strengthened by the attack. The Pakistani activist is the co-founder of the ‘Malala Fund’ and is highly motivated to raise investment for girls’ education across the world. As part of her ‘Gulmakai Network’ initiative, Malala blogs against the Taliban regime and about education champions across the world. Her never-ending battle earned her an honorary Canadian citizenship. Currently, she is a citizen of England and promotes education among children, especially girls. Malala is studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Lady Margaret Hall at Oxford.
Rashi was just 18 when looked through young minds in hoping for a better and stronger future of this country. The plight of children on the streets inspired Rashi to startup Lakshyam — an NGO working for street and underprivileged children in Delhi. She set up a Toy Library programme that gives out pictorial books and educational toys to street kids. Till date, this programme is still has donated books and toys to over two lakh underprivileged children in India.
Singh hails from Delhi and sure does know the trouble women commuters go through every day while travelling in uncomfortable vehicles. She is the founder of Ummeed, a program that was formed to train women from the slums of Delhi to become taxi and rickshaw (electric rickshaws) drivers. She was just 17 when she started this initiative with a single electric rickshaw, donated by the local manufacturer, Green Wheels. Avani called women volunteers to be a part of this unique project and built a strong number of women drivers across the city. Eventually, she found inspiration in every e-rickshaw driver she provided the opportunity to and today underprivileged women are eager to train and drive under her guidance.
Kudos to women power!