‘I Am Woman’, a non-profit initiative started four years back by the Karan Gupta Education Foundation recently held its fourth ‘I Am Woman’ awards night and celebrated womanhood. This award function is held annually to laud the achievements and journeys of those women who fought against the odds and proved to be an inspiration for all.
The main motive behind organizing this event has always been to project a strong and powerful message of the immense potential women hold of reaching the great heights of success. After awarding powerful women like Sushmita Sen and Sonam Kapoor, Sonali Bendre, an actress, author and a cancer survivor became the third woman to receive the ‘I Am Woman’ ‘Woman of substance’ award, for courageously fighting a deadly disease like cancer.
Apart from her, many other women who have managed to break the shackles of the society and have performed extraordinary tasks in their specific fields were presented the award too. The awardees include an activist and social worker, Sindhutai Sapkal, Kisha Gupta, head of Global Academic Relations, Infosys Limited, Deepika Ghenani, Genesis co-founder, Priya Kumar, an author, Deepika Singh Rajawat, a lawyer and an activist, Neehari Mandali, also an activist, and Neeta Lulla, an entrepreneur and designer.
To make this awards night lively and charged, personalities like actress Manasi Joshi Roy, Manasi Scott, a singer, and actors Rohit Roy, Parvin Dabas and Tanuj Virwani hosted the event. The event was attended by previous years’ awardees as well like Krishika Lulla, Maheka Mirpuri, Kiran Bawa, and Reshma Merchant.
The ‘I Am Woman’ awards night is not just about awarding powerful women for their extraordinary work, but also about holding discussions on various issues that revolve around empowerment of women in various arenas. This year the discussion took place on the role a woman can play in the business world and also how women are capable of bringing about a massive positive change in their respective communities.
While in conversation with Sonali Bendre, when Karan Gupta, the man behind the ‘I Am Woman’ initiative, asked her from she gathered the courage to fight cancer, Sonali stated that her social media post informing people about her suffering from cancer garnered a lot of love and support. She also went on to say that more than gathering courage, she purely tried to cope with the disease.
On being asked to give one advice to women who look up to her, she passed on her mother’s teaching and quoted “Unless you are independently earning, do not get married. Unless you are economically independent, you can never stand up for yourself. You have to start out with being economically independent.”
What amazed all, was a unique concept initiated by a 15-year-old young girl, Almas Mukri who has created a user-friendly platform that sells organic fruit baskets which are made by workers belonging to the lower sections of the society like the sex workers, farmers and women from the low-income group. She states that her ultimate goal is to support her family financially and also uplift the poor by providing them with employment.
An initiative such as ‘I Am Woman’ is what keeps women and men both inspired to do better and have the courage to face and overcome the most difficult challenges. With it touching its 4th year successfully, the 5th one is also sure to come with another set of similar powerful women who will continue to inspire all of us once again.
We spoke to the awardees and here is what they had to say. Click on the links below to know what.