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As a woman, there is a multitude of roles you have to perform – and withstand being judged by society for all of them. While your dreams tend to get lost in the mist of daily challenges, trust us when we say you have it in you. The strength to achieve whatever you want is within you. Check out these exclusive messages we have brought to brighten up your day and renew your self-esteem!
As moms, we long to create a just world for our kids – one without discrimination, where they can pursue their passion without fear or judgment. It is our role as parents to instil in our children the spirit to believe in their dreams. To help you along, we connected with five inspirational women who have redefined strength and created a unique space for themselves – one that they own.
1. Deepa Malik on Women’s Liberation
An Arjuna Awardee. Featured in the Limca book of records for swimming, biking and rallying. Also paralyzed chest-down after three spinal tumour surgeries.
Deepa has never let her disability come in the way of her passion for sports. She has adopted a unique route to achieving liberation– being as physically fit and mentally strong as she can be. Through ‘Wheeling Happiness’, her NGO for the specially-abled, it is precisely this lesson that she tries to convey.
Here’s what Deepa : “Women liberation is not just a word for today’s woman. To me, it actually defines a woman who can strike a good balance between work and home and at the same time pursue her passions and hobbies. This sure takes a bit of expertise on time management and women have to learn to be physically fit.”
2. Gul Panag on Gender Stereotypes
Right from childhood, many girls are propelled toward safe and “feminine” career options. Cinema, travelling, sports, activism, what? Not for our gender! Raising kids with such deeply embedded gender stereotypes only has one result. They end up being forced to kill their ambitions, live a half-life, and blindly do what society wants them to – conform. But not Gul.
The beauty queen and actress has been participating in adventurous activities such as biking, camping and travelling from an early age. She runs the Colonel Shamsher Singh Foundation, an NGO that works towards fostering gender equality, education and disaster management. Her life, her story, is a definite source of inspiration for women all over the country.
Here’s what Gul told : “Don’t let anyone decide what you should be doing with your life. Don’t be held by gender stereotypes. Be fearless and the rest will follow!”
3. Sapna Bhavnani on Hardship
Failed marriages. Abuse. Being judged for her tattoos and shaved head. Not allowed to even try out a wedding dress because hey, no one would marry her, right?
Today, Sapna is a celebrity hairstylist and runs a hair salon called ‘Mad O Wot’ in Mumbai. She recently started Pathshala – an organisation that teaches women who are former sex workers about beauty and hair-styling so they can lead a dignified life. She is also a strong voice for ‘Stop Acid Attacks’ and promotes the cause strongly.
The next time you’re feeling down and out, remember this: Women have a hard life. But they also have a lot of inner strength.
Sapna shared with us her life mantra, a quote she lives by: “I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers”– Khalil Gibran
4. Jyoti Janak Dhawale on Discrimination
We grow up being told that discrimination is a part of life. More so if you are a woman, but rampant even otherwise. People are discriminated against on account of their skin colour, race, caste, community, gender…the list never ends. But if you happen to be HIV Positive, the world will cease to be discriminating. It will become downright impossible to live in.
Jyoti is an HIV Activist, working hard to improve life for those diagnosed with AIDS. She promotes her cause through writing and blogging. She is also on the Community Advisory Board of The Well Project (USA).
Here’s what Jyoti lives by: ” Make the world a better place for people living with HIV-stigma and discrimination-free.”
5. Sheetal Bidaye On Women Empowerment
Women and motor-biker
Women and motor-biker? Women traversing difficult terrain? You gotta be kidding. That is something only men can do. Except Sheetal proved all those with this mindset wrong.
She’s been a Limca Record holder twice. She has been motorcycling for more than 20 years and was the first woman to ride to Marisemik La, the highest non-motorable pass in the world. By reaching goals previously thought impossible, Sheetal has created a new meaning for the term women empowerment. She has proved that as women, we don’t need to be gifted power on a plate. We already have it.
Here’s what Sheetal : “The thing most women are yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just have it. You were born with it!”
Cheers to these stellar ladies, most inspirational women, who have been successfully following their heart despite hardships and challenges. But you know what’s intriguing? The fact that their stories stand for all of us! When we set our hearts to it, all of us have the grit and determination to be amazing women!