When reading about Women in India, we often read about women as victims. Rape, sexual harassment, abuse, social and economic injustice, gender discrimination, a patriarchal system that suppresses women on the bases of culture and religion. The list is long. And unfortunately, all these are forms of inequality and violence that women in India face every day. Women in villages. Women in cities. Women in their families. And women in fortune 500 companies.
But today, I want to celebrate INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY with you and share three amazing women in Mumbai that inspire me!
- Sherry Schroff
I can’t remember when or how I came across Sherry’s Youtube channel. All I know is that this fierce Indian woman is a great inspiration for millions of young Indian women. Yes, she is a model. Yes, she does a lot of fashion and beauty related videos. But like Emma Watson just said “You can be a feminist and have boobs.” A youtuber and a model and a lawyer, Sherry embodies the new and confident Indian woman. Check out her recent Youtube video in which she talks about GIRL POWER. Also, I love her for speaking up and reminding her followers that every woman has a choice to follow the expectations of family and society or to follow her own dreams.
- Jinx Akerkar
Jinx Akerkar is one of the most inspiring women I have ever met. And I feel so lucky to call her my friend. The first time I met her was during a Christmas party in 2014. She gave a little speech to a group of foreigners married to Indians. It is a very special group of foreign women who live permanently in Mumbai and are married to Indians. The unique feeling of being home in a city that looks at you and considers you an expat, the unique problems and challenges we face with being a foreign bahu (daughter-in-law) – that’s what unites all the women in this group. And Jinx being married for over 60 years to her Indian husband, is our role model and rock star! She always has a funny anecdote to tell and great advice to share.
- Deepali Vandana
Last year, I celebrated my birthday with a group of women who were victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, prostitution and economic discrimination. I visited an NGO called Urja Trust as part of my work with the American Women’s Club. Urja provides shelter to vulnerable women who are homeless or have run away due to domestic violence.
I am very much impressed by Deepali Vandana, a Dalit woman and social worker, who started Urja Trust a couple of years back. It takes a lot of courage and boldness to support women to free themselves from human trafficking, prostitution, domestic violence and other forms of discrimination. In a country like India, where ministers can openly blame a rape victim for wearing “provoking clothes”, you do not have many public supporters. In the last four years, Deepali and her team were able to rehabilitate more than 250 young women.
Let me know in the comments below: Which women in Mumbai inspire you?