ABPL marks International Women's Day with Soneri Sangat

Wednesday 03rd April 2024 06:31 EDT

Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar hosted a Zoom programme titled 'Soneri Sangat,' on March 14th, 2024 the third episode was dedicated to international women’s day and discussed women empowerment with prominent women across diverse fields. The event drew numerous participants who joined in the evening, making it an unforgettable and enriching experience for all involved. Consulting editor of Gujarat Samachar, Kokila Patel welcomed everyone. CEO of Enfield Saheli, Krishna Pujara guided the proceedings as event moderator. The programme commenced with a prayer led by Mayaben Deepak, setting a serene tone for the proceedings. Nilesh Parmar, Bureau Chief, then delivered the latest news updates during the event, keeping participants informed and engaged.

The first speaker of the programme, Chinu Kishore who is representative of the Assamese community for promoting arts and culture said, “Women are often incredibly busy, so I've found that offering self-care through dance is a wonderful way to provide them with joy and relaxation. I organise workshops during their free time, particularly catering to retired women seeking a leisure activity. These sessions allow them to learn simple dance steps and immerse themselves in a new art form, providing a reprieve from the demands of daily life. By fostering connections with other women and encouraging them to learn from each other's strengths, I aim to empower them not only in the realm of art but also in supporting each other and engaging in community initiatives.”

Lecturer at GBS Minal Jaiswal, who manages the community forum "Indians in London," reflecting on the significance of International Women's Day in her life said, “International Women's Day holds deep personal significance for me, rooted in the empowering environment my family cultivated. Despite societal norms, my parents defied expectations and prioritised my education and autonomy. I vividly recall the pivotal moments where their unwavering support propelled me forward. As the first girl in my family to attend an English medium school, I defied outdated conventions. Similarly, my decision to marry at 39, after fulfilling familial responsibilities, underscored the freedom and agency instilled in me.”

“Witnessing women like the hijab-wearing cab driver and my Afghan colleagues pursuing education and professional careers reinforces the ongoing global struggle for women's rights. Despite living in 2024, many women worldwide still face systemic barriers. Our privilege demands action—to leverage our opportunities for the betterment of all women,” she added.

Speaking about women’s health, Sushma Bhanot MBE who is Ayurveda Consultant and Co Director Coolherballs said, “Over the past three to four decades, I've dedicated my career to women's health—a fundamental aspect often overlooked in discussions about empowerment. While empowerment is crucial, without sound health, its realisation remains unattainable. Women are the bearers of Shakti, the driving force of the world, but to harness this power, we require energy and vitality. It's disheartening to observe how even in developed nations, women lack access to basic healthcare services, including menstrual and postmenopausal care, and contraception.”

“Despite the progress made, significant gaps persist. As we strive for empowerment, we must prioritise women's health as a cornerstone. In my field, I've specialised in Ayurveda, recognizing its unique ability to address individual needs and promote holistic well-being. Through practices like meditation and mindfulness, Ayurveda empowers not just our bodies, but also our minds. I urge everyone to take a moment each day for meditation and mindfulness—a simple pause that can yield profound benefits,” she added.

Kamu Palan said, “As someone who prioritises wellbeing, I'm acutely aware of the challenges faced by young mothers in the workplace. Despite the support they receive from partners, it's often the women who feel compelled to take time off for childcare. While I encourage their participation, the lack of affordable childcare options poses a significant hurdle. I believe the government should invest in supporting young mothers with alternative wellbeing solutions, such as yoga. It offers immense benefits for those with stressful jobs and anxiety. Many individuals attempt self-guided practice, risking injury due to a lack of proper guidance. Qualified teachers play a vital role in ensuring safe and effective practice, benefiting both women and men balancing childcare and household responsibilities.

Participant Ravi Bhanot posed a question regarding how men can support women's advancement. Chinu emphasised the importance of recognising limitations and prioritising self-care, advocating for a balanced approach akin to men. Krishna Pujara highlighted the role of men in advancing gender equality and the need for policies addressing pay equity and supporting women's workforce participation. Minal shared personal experiences illustrating societal expectations limiting women's autonomy, despite their capabilities. She stressed the importance of challenging gender norms and recognizing women's innate strength and resilience. 

The Vote of thanks was given by Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar, CB Patel. 

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