Seven Indian pioneering women, including frontline healthcare personnel, were honoured here on the occasion of International Women's Day for their dedicated service, as India's Consul General in New York Randhir Jaiswal underscored that women empowerment is a key component of socio-economic development in the world.
The Federation of Indian Associations of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut (FIA), along with the Brooklyn Borough President's Office and the Consulate General of India, New York hosted a commemorative ceremony at the Brooklyn Borough Hall on the occasion of International Women's Day on Monday, FIA said in a statement.
The honourees were awarded a memento by Jaiswal, who applauded their efforts, dedication and resilience towards their profession and various social causes, particularly amid the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic. The awardees were also honoured with a memento and Citation from the Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. Dilip Chauhan, who handles the South Asian affairs for the Borough President, extended greetings on behalf of Adams, to the honourees, the statement said.
The awardees include Tejal Amin, Chairperson at Navrachana Education Society, Vadodara. A gold medalist and Visharad in the Indian classical dance of Bharatnatyam, she is the founder of cultural organisation Ghargharika, is a brand ambassador of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan and is a founding director and Chairperson of Vadodara Marathon. Dr. Uma Rani Madhusudana is a physician at Hartford Healthcare and was honoured for her dedication and selfless service as a healthcare professional on the frontline against the pandemic.
She also assisted with protocols regarding plasma therapy in India and will be featured in a documentary A Pandemic: Away from the Motherland', which has been shortlisted for the Oscars Best Documentary Feature category, the statement said. The honouree also included Dr Abha Jaiswal, dentist and a Master in Sociology and in Public Health. Jaiswal, fluent in seven languages, was also lauded for her pivotal support and contribution as a diplomatic spouse.
Rashmi Aggarwal, a nurse, was lauded for her role as a healthcare first responder serving others during the pandemic. Sabina Dhillon, a community attorney was recognised for her pro bono services and continuous selfless legal guidance to those unable to afford professional legal advice. The honourees also include Mask Squad', a group of like-minded women who came together to help the community in need by sewing 3200 masks and sharing them with first responders and those in need during the pandemic. From donating masks and food to helping domestic violence survivors in emergency situations, the group of Mask Squad was lauded for their positive impact on the community.
Rashaana Shah, producer, actress and founder and Managing Director of TV and film development company Mulberry Films, was recognised for her work with kids programming, including launching a channel (Indika) to provide spiritual content for children through vedic science. Earlier in the day, Consul General Jaiswal, addressing a special virtual event at the Consulate organised along with IT company GAVS Technologies, to mark International Women's Day, said the world has come a long way in the area of women empowerment and gender equality and there are changes sweeping across the world.
If you look at the Sustainable Development Goals, or before that the Millennium Development Goals, there is a clear global compact that women empowerment is a key component of socio-economic development today, he said. Jaiswal added that the economic strength of women empowerment and the social imperatives of such issues has got a huge global embrace. He spoke about the growing number of women achievers across universities and institutes of higher education in India.
Jaiswal also referred to the speech Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered on Independence Day last year in which he had talked about sanitary pads. Modi was widely praised for talking about sanitary napkins during the national address with many citizens calling it a step towards breaking taboos associated with menstruation. Modi had said that under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendra scheme, the government has started giving away sanitary napkins at Re 1 to empower women and also to keep their health in check.
In 6,000 Jan Aushadi Kendras, more than five crore sanitary napkins have been provided to women in a short period of time," he had said. Jaiswal said that in the years to come, we will make huge gains in the area of women empowerment and gender equality. We cannot leave 50 per cent of our people outside of the initiatives that we are doing, be it in the sectors of IT, industry, science, technology or research, he said.