Celebrating women trailblazers – women who have created their own path and paved way for others!
There are women who follow in the footsteps of those who came before them, then there are those who create their own path. And then there are the trailblazers – the dictionary meaning of the term is normally a person who is the first to do something, much before anyone else. And when it comes to women, the term takes on a whole new connotation – it generally means a lot more, because there are several instances of women not getting the same type of opportunities as their male counterparts. Here’s celebrating some of the women trailblazers from India, who are telling the world how it’s done!
- Priyanka Chopra Jonas – Perhaps one of the biggest names in the global movie industry, Priyanka has done it all – she has been crowned Miss World, she has worked in some of the most successful movies in India, she has released award winning albums and is today, one of the leading actor-producers in the world. With her Mumbai based production house, she strives to offer a platform for regional movie makers and upcoming talents. She is also extremely passionate about protecting the rights of children and is not only a global UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador but also a United Nations Foundation Girl Up Champion. And just like Educate Girls, she too has been constantly vocal about girls getting an equal opportunity in education.
- Beena Kannan – If you are from Kerala or have ever been there, the name Seematti would not be new to you! Once of the oldest and perhaps one of the largest textile stores in all of Kerala, Seematti is known to be the destination for sarees. When Beena took over the reins of the century old store, she knew that there were some hard decisions to be made – either the brand could become commercial and stay spread out in several cities and states. Or, they could concentrate on just a few stores and offer products that no one else could offer. Today, Seematti has stores only in Kottayam and Kochi, but each stores sees close to 10,000 people, each day! As the CEO and lead designer for the brand, Kannan offers sarees that are the talk of the town. Combining traditional and contemporary designs, by playing around with fabrics and weaves, she has ensured that the saree remains relevant and stylish and earned herself the tag of one of the top female trailblazers!
- Keya Vaswani and Nidhi Kamath – When they were learning more about product design at the Indian Institute of Crafts & Design, neither Keya nor Nidhi really knew how their lives would change. They did, however realise, that most city dwellers had little to no knowledge about how the people in rural India live. In order to offer a proper education, these two ladies travelled through several villages of India, learning more about the lives of these people and their arts and crafts. As the co-founders of Storyloom Films, these days, they are making films to educate the world about the talent and knowledge that goes behind creating some of the prettiest fabrics and weaves, that have been in existence for centuries.
- Dr. Seema Rao – When you look at Seema Rao, you would not think that this woman is the one of the first civilian women, to have trained some of the best people in India’s armed forces. As a matter of fact, for about two decades now, she has been training India’s elite armed forces in CQB or close quarter battle with arms and unarmed battle, without any compensation in return. She has spent years in the snow-covered mountains, hostile jungles as well as sweltering deserts of the country, training the forces of army, state police, navy, air force, border security forces and even anti-terror squads. For her selfless service, she has been awarded with three citations from the Army Chief as well as a World Peace Diplomat Award. Her trailblazing efforts have shown that women can achieve anything they set their mind too – all they need is an opportunity; just what Educate Girls is trying offer girls from downtrodden and financially challenged backgrounds.
- Komal Mangtani – If one were to look at women trailblazers in technology, Mangtani’s name would most probably feature high up. As senior director as well as head of engineering and business intelligence at Uber, she did not have it easy. Her journey from Surat to Silicon Valley was one that was filled with plenty of bumps, because women in technology was not something that was easily accepted. These days, she is working in close association with tech communities like Women Who Code and Girls Who Code to nurture a new generation of women in the tech space. As a female leader in the tech world, she is doing her bit to increase the influx of women in this space, just like Educate Girls, who are trying to increase the influx of girls back into schools and the fold of education!
- Geethanjali Radhakrishnan – An old farmer in some remote village of Maharashtra was who nudged Radhakrishnan into creating a handheld device that could detect and diagnose skin infections. When the old man was forced into consuming antibiotics for more than 8 years, little did he know that he had been misdiagnosed. As the founder and director of Adiuvo Diagnostics, she created Skin-Scope, a non-invasive device that can capture multi-spectral images of an infection and utilise machine learning to not only detect, but also classify the pathogen in less than 2 minutes.
- Rajlakshmi Borthakur – The birth of TerraBlue XT was nothing something Borthakur had planned or intended – when her son was diagnosed with epilepsy, she wanted to create something that could help improve the quality of his life. The biomedical wearable ring that she helped created, she named TJay and even though it is yet to be launched commercially, with the help of sensors, it can help predict the next epileptic attack. The device can track pulse rate and blood pressure and monitor for any spikes. Her education (she is an IT engineer) and her thirst for knowledge allowed her to become a trailblazer in the field of medical wearables and she is nothing short of an inspiration for all the young female minds!
At Educate Girls, we are not only celebrating women trailblazers who have already made their mark in the world, but are striving hard to build the next generation of achievers. We understand that only by bringing more and more girls back into schools and offering them not only education, but also hope, is there a chance of a better tomorrow!
Posted on March 1, 2023