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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

IWD 2019: Empowering women, one act, one day at a time. Read some inspiring stories this Women’s Day

International Women’s Day 2019: From gender equity to bridging the pay gap and having a voice, women are making us proud in all walks of life and it’s the best feeling to look up to another woman as a source of empowerment and strength.

more-lifestyle Updated: Mar 09, 2019 21:13 IST
Saumya Sharma
Saumya Sharma
Hindustan Times, Delhi
I’s the day of empowerment, uplifting our own spirits and the ladies around you. Read some inspirational stories of a few women who are working towards making the world a happier place.
I’s the day of empowerment, uplifting our own spirits and the ladies around you. Read some inspirational stories of a few women who are working towards making the world a happier place. (Unsplash)

It’s International Women’s Day and such a fantastic time to be alive! From gender equity to a seat at the table to bridging the pay gap and having a voice, women are making us proud in all walks of life and it’s the best feeling to look up to another woman as a source of empowerment and strength.

From managing homes to being just a working woman, there are superwomen everywhere, truly making a change to the world we live in and continuing conversations that may have begun years ago but have taken all this time to be realised as ‘the talk’, not just something that can be forgotten about once the sun sets on the horizon.

Here are some insights by Facebook on self-employed women, entrepreneurs
Here are some insights by Facebook on self-employed women, entrepreneurs

Take a look at some of the most inspiring stories of women we’ve come across who are working on making the world a better and happier place for everyone, through their efforts. Brands like Airbnb, Etsy, Body Shop, Preferred Hotels and more recently, Virgin Atlantic and Vistara and others are empowering women, while a few individuals continue to inspire us through their stories.

Virgin Atlantic, this week announced that their flight crew now has the choice to not wear makeup to work. The British airline’s staff has previously been required to wear blush, mascara and red lipstick to complement the uniform’s red skirts and shoes. Based on a feedback by their staff, the airline has now given the crew two new options—to fly makeup-free, and opt for pants over skirts.


Following this, Vistara has become the first Indian flight to hand out sanitary napkins to the women who need it. This initiative is being called #PadsOnBoard.


Read on for more empowering stories of women across the country, some who chose entrepreneurship over a regular corporate job, some to sustain themselves and stand equal to the male members in the society.

- Snigdha Manchanda, Tea Sommelier and Founder of

Snigdha perceives tea as a lifestyle product and not a commodity. She trained under Japanese Tea Master, Nao Numekawa and founded Tea Trunk in 2013. Tea Trunk curates finest teas directly from farmers and crafts them into unique tea blends with all natural ingredients. Snigdha is an empanelled author and spokesperson for Tea Board of India. Her passion for tea extends beyond the trade. She plans to launch a Tea School to revolutionise academic opportunities to study tea. Snigdha’s vision is to set up a global learning hub for Tea, in India. She believes, India without a Tea school is like France without a Wine school.


KincheByPayal on Etsy

Payal Jaggi started her brand, dedicated to all strong women in the world, who believed in themselves and made life beautiful for everyone around them. Talking about the trademark jackets she makes she says, “while dedicating the first (jacket I ever made) to Uma (another name for shakti which means strength) it struck me that there are many women who need to be celebrated and rejoiced about and I could have named this jacket after those women too! Just like them my jackets were unique and couldn’t be replicated or made in different size, I decided to make more and name them and dedicate them to these awesome women across the world.


TheIndianPaperForest on Etsy

Suzanne Furtado, had always known that letting her creative bees rein free was the path to success. It was her Late husband (and then Boyfriend) who first recognized her Creative craftsmanship at the young age of 16. Since then she has gone from strength to strength and has 3 thriving Etsy shops, catering to custom designs for birthday, marriage invites, save the dates and similar decors.


SmallIdeaByShirali on Etsy

A science graduate who worked in retail for 12 years, only to give it up in favour of a creative profession. While looking for the best outlet to her artistic inclinations, Shirali came across miniatures and immediately fell in love with the art form. Now she makes earrings, bookmarks, fridge magnets, pen drives, bag charms and much more. They are as adorable as they are indestructible. Her miniature food magnets can hoodwink even the greatest food critics.


- SwapnrangIndia on Etsy

Swapnaja is a marine biologist and scuba diver by day. As if that wasn’t exciting enough, she is also a budding painter and poet. She draws inspiration for her paintings from her dives into the ocean, where she discovers the world down under. Through her paintings, she tries to share the tranquillity and serenity of the ocean with her customers.


- Airbnb:

In a bid to promote tourism to quaint, rural locations of the country, Airbnb in India has tied up with SEWA to empower members to pursue their passions and earn a sustained livelihood, by becoming Airbnb Hosts.


a) Gauriben Brahman, Home Host - Gujarat, India

Gauriben Brahman’s house lies in the village of Bakutra in the province of Gujarat. It’s a thatched-roof house with three small rooms neatly lined with cots, and topped with hand embroidered sheets. Gauriben is an Airbnb host who welcomes guests from around the world, and in doing so, has earned more in one month from hosting on Airbnb than from an entire year harvesting crops.

b) Mayaben Mehsana, Home Host – Gujarat, India

She is one of the first SEWA hosts who joined the platform and since then she has been hosting and co-hosting 9 SEWA women homes. She has studied up to seventh grade and used to work as an agricultural worker before getting married. With the support of SEWA she is now computer literate, RJ, a trainer. To host a group of guests she rented 2 to 3 homes in her village. Hosting has helped her to become an entrepreneur as she hosts multiple properties on the platform. There is an evident change in her husband and he has become more supportive with all household responsibilities, he takes care of their kids, also help her with kitchen work.

Airbnb has seen a whopping 32.53% increase in women hosts between 2018 and 2019 with the largest number of women hosting in Goa, followed by Mumbai and Bangalore.

- Lindsey Ueberroth, Preferred Hotels & Resorts’ CEO recognizes the value and unique abilities that women bring to the workplace and is committed to effecting further change in the industry by putting female leadership at the forefront of the brand’s global strategy. “There is still room to grow in terms of balanced gender representation in the hospitality industry, especially in leadership roles,” said Lindsey. “It’s reassuring to see more companies place a stronger value on the diversity that women bring to executive leadership, and I am confident the industry will continue to move forward.”


- Sandra Tikal – General Manager, Palazzo Versace Dubai, UAE, “At Palazzo Versace Dubai, we live and breathe equality in the workplace. We share, we care, and we collaborate. Every position is critical and equally important to making a difference to the guest experience we offer. We are a multicultural place, and each of us has different understanding of what service is.” Sandra believes that being a successful leader has nothing to do with gender, it’s about being open, approachable and a good listener.


Palazzo Versace Dubai is a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts Legend Collection

- Carol Ignatius Lobo, Entrepreneur and OYO owner

In 2014, Carol was juggling a full time job as well as renting out her second home in Calangute to family and friends. While her earnings were fairly decent, maintenance and cleaning of the property was completely her responsibility. This made her life extremely hectic, with work 5 days a week and then evenings and weekends spent cleaning the second home, keeping it ready for the next set of visitors. A friend saw her plight and recommended OYO to her in 2016 and since then there has been no turning back for the ambitious, level-headed and strong-willed entrepreneur. Now Carol runs a successful guest house called Tesero Villa, located in Goa.

- Sugandha Tyagi, creator of ShoesYourDaddy


- Kirti Poonia, Founder Okhai Handicrafts – Fashion and Home décor brand

Kirti is an entrepreneur and founded her brand Okhai a few years ago as a means of generating livelihood for a large number of rural artisans. Her brand has since made significant contributions to the lives of the women artisans working with it, which has helped improve their economic as well as social status. Okhai products use mirror work, patchwork and embroidery created as a vibrant expression of the rural way of life, their rituals and their legends.


- Navi Pillai, Superwoman and Cancer survivor who recently did a concept photo-shoot and touched a chord in our hearts through her strength. Speaking about what motivated her to get up and get going she says, “What inspired me was the struggles women are having these days however due to certain setbacks we always tend to avoid somethings because we lack confidence. So basically this shoot was to boost the confidence in women telling them that inner beauty is what matters most. Self-love and self-confidence is another importance.” More power to you, Navi.

Take a look at some of her pictures on Instagram here:



View this post on Instagram

Cancer treatments has given us alot of limitations, has robbed us from beauty and taken away our confidence. As a little girl, we have always dreamt of what our big day will be like and how we would look as a bride. But having cancer has stripped some of us from fulfilling these dreams. Alot of cancer survivors has postponed or even cancelled their big day. For me, as a cancer survivor, I dreamt the day I marry the love of my life. Dreamt, what it is like to look like a bride, to feel like a bride. Having gone through cancer treatments (chemotherapy, etc.), losing my hair was by far the hardest thing I ever had to go through. I felt that I was not beautiful enough to be loved and was not beautiful enough to look or ever feel like a bride. Hair, it is our 'crowning glory' and having that taken away from you is devastating. But we choose to accept what we have, appreciate what we are and welcome what is coming. So here it is, *Bold Indian Bride* ****************************************************** Bangles & Bridal Anklet : Silk Saree & Bridal Veil : @pattushastra Photography: @celesgrd Assisted by: @shi.vaa90 Make-up & Styling : @blushbeautybeyond Assisted by : @emmanuel_ravi98 Henna: @bdazzled_beauty #kissedbycancer #cancersucks #cancersurvivor #youngadultcancer #letsfcancer ** A huge thank you to the team. You guys made my dream come true. Not only I looked like a bride, I felt like a bride and it was all thanks to the wonderful team for bringing it to life. I am so grateful to have met such wonderful people. I am extremely blessed for the amount of love and support I have received. Scrolling through the pictures, tears rolled down because I got to have my dream come true and it is because you guys made it happen for me. I am extremely grateful. Thank you all so much. Lots of love, Navi

A post shared by Navi Indran Pillai (@naviindranpillai) on


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First Published: Mar 08, 2019 14:24 IST