Winners of the Hindustan Times Woman of the Year awards, which aim to encourage and recognise the achievements of women, were announced at a glittering function in Lucknow on Saturday.
UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, who graced the occasion along with his wife Dimple Yadav, gave away the awards at the jam-packed Vivanta hotel here.
This was the couple’s first public appearance together after Akhilesh took charge as chief minister on March 15.
Atul Sharma, who runs Sankalp, an NGO working to bring down child trafficking for use in sex trade, walked away with HT Woman of the Year trophy. Lucknow’s Shehnaz Sidrat, president of Bazm-e-Khawateen, an outfit for Muslim women empowerment, and Bareilly’s Pushpalata, runs Disha, a school for differently abled children, won the first and second runners up trophies, respectively.
Lauding HT’s initiative to recognise women, Akhilesh said, “The gap between men and women is large. We need to give more opportunity to women as that only can help reduce the gap. No society can progress if women are suppressed.”
The winner of the Judges' Choice award was Judith ‘Sangita’ Kellar, founder Kiran Centre, which empowers differently abled children.
Lucknow’s Bharti Gandhi, founder-president of City Montessori School, the world's largest school in terms of pupils, also won the Judges' Choice award.