Inspiring British Asian Women

Reshma Trilochun & Rupanjana Dutta Monday 02nd March 2015 11:25 EST

8th March marks International Women's day. We all have an inspirational woman in our lives, who've not only motivated us but also encouraged us to fulfil our dreams or to become a better person. Many women have strived for excellence by prevailing in their chosen field, be it politics or the media. We take a look at few individuals living in the UK, from different walks of life, who have not only garnered success and appreciation for their hard work, but also continue to inspire us with their contribution to society.

  • Malala Yousafzai, Equal Right Activist: This name needs no introduction. Nobel prize winner Malala Yousafzai is a global phenomena, a true embodiment of hope and courage, while also being the youngest ever Nobel Prize Laureate. Of Pakistani origin, Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban as she demanded the right for females receive an education. She underwent treatment in Birmingham, where she now resides and goes to Edgbaston High School.
  • Ayesha Vardag, Lawyer: Britain’s top divorce lawyer Ayesha has acted for and against heirs and heiresses, tycoons, international footballers/polo players, celebrities and royalty. The Evening Standard called her ‘one of the star lawyers turning London into the divorce capital of the world’, while Easy Living Magazine March 2012 featured her as ‘The Diva of Divorce’. She rose to fame for winning the landmark Supreme Court case of Radmacher, changing the law on prenuptial agreements.
  • Archie Panjabi, Actor: A graduate from Brunel university in Management Studies, Archana “Archie” Panjabi has left her mark in films such as East is East (1999), Bend it Like Beckham (2002), starred with Angelina Jolie in A Mighty Heart (2007), as well as the American series, The Good Wife for which she received the best supporting actress in a drama series at the Primetime Emmy awards in 2010. The stunning actress managed to create a niche for herself while inspiring many other British Asians to pursue performing arts as a career option.
  • Meera Syal CBE, Comedian, Actor and Writer: Famously known for her appearances on Goodness Gracious Me and The Kumars at No. 42, Meera Syal (born Feroza Syal) is not only an actress or comedian, but is also a writer. She has written the screenplay for Gurinder Chadha's directorial film Bhaji on the Beach (1993) and was a scriptwriter for the A.R. Rahman and Andrew Lloyd Webber's collaborative musical, Bombay Dreams (2002). She has also written the semi autobiographical novel, Anita and Me. Syal has also been honoured with a CBE and was previously awarded with an MBE as well.
  • Indiraa Batra, singer/ songwriter: Though she suffered from severe bouts of depression, singer songwriter Indiraa has had top-20 dance hits in the UK and US club charts, using her music as a form of therapy. With a first-class bachelor’s degree in psychology and statistics, and as a qualified gym instructor, chef and passionate animal rescuer, Indiraa is an all-round star.
  • Anjali Pathak, Chef and Author: Anjali Pathak is the new face of the Kenyan-Indian family which took Indian curries to supermarket shelves around the world. She took over as the culinary expert and brand ambassador for the Patak's brand only after it was acquired by the London-based international food and retail group Associated British Foods in 2007. Anjali has recently launched her book Secrets from my Indian family Kitchen
  • Shazia Mirza, Comedian: Shazia Mirza is an English stand-up comedian and columnist of Pakistani descent. Mirza was born as the eldest daughter in Birmingham, England. About a year into her stand-up comedy career, Mirza gained UK-wide publicity in the months when the world was coming to terms with the September 11, 2001 attacks. This was because at this time she would perform her act in recognizable hijab dress and begin with the deadpan remark, "My name is Shazia Mirza. At least, that's what it says on my pilot's licence". Mirza is a regular panelist on the Channel 5 topical discussion series The Wright Stuff.
  • Ruby McGregor-Smith CBE, CEO: Ruby is the CEO of Mitie Group PLC, a strategic outsourcing company headquartered in Bristol, UK. She joined Mitie as Group Financial Director in 2002 and was appointed CEO in 2007. She is the only Asian female chief executive of a FTSE 250 company.She was awarded a CBE in 2012 for services to business and promoting diversity. Her ten years at Mitie have seen a £1.5bn rise in the firm's turnover, which passed the £2bn mark for the first time in 2012.
  • Dr Geeta Venkat, Doctor: Dr Venkat has more than twenty years of experience in various fertility clinics around Harley Street. Her focus has been to tailor treatments to the needs of her patients while incorporating the latest developments in the discipline. Dr Venkat presents her work regularly in conferences and has published articles in many peer reviewed journals. She has also contributed two chapters to the authoritative book on ‘Donor Egg IVF’, published in 2008. She offers advice to the community on fertility matters in television and radio programs.
  • Isa Guha, Cricketer: Isa Tara Guha is an England cricketer of Kolkata Bengali descent[ who played in the 2005 Women's Cricket World Cup in South Africa. She cites winning the World Cup in 2009 as a career highlight. Guha writes a column for the BBC Sport website She rose to global fame as a Co-presenter for ITV's coverage of the Indian Premiere League Cricket.

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