For most of us, our mother, sisters and aunts are our first brush with womanhood. As we move on in life, we face the societal pressures of our feminity but at the same time, we also come across many strong women that inspire us to shatter those glass ceilings.
Celebrated author Preeti Shenoy and entrepreneur Anisha Singh raise a toast to real working women of India. While actor Mithila Palkar, celebrity fitness expert Deanne Pandey and actor Gabriella Deshametriades tell us about their role models as they go live as speakers in Phoenix Marketcity, Kurla for Women's Day.
Here's a salute to womanhood from women who support women.
Mithila Palkar, Actor
"My general piece of advice to all women is to dream big and dream out loud. All that you wish to do, do it fearlessly because if you don’t believe in yourself, no one will. This is a motto that I absolutely follow."
Life Lesson: "I don’t know about the hard way but the fact that we still do live in a patriarchal society was reinstated when I experienced it myself. I would definitely say that when such things happen it is important that you don’t feel belittled just because you are a woman, your gender has got nothing to do with your abilities and capabilities."
"I personally as an artist look up to Meryl Streep. I think every actress should use her as a Bible because there is just so much to learn from her."
Anahita N. Dhondy, Chef-Partner at SodaBottleOpenerWala CyberHub, Gurgaon
"Life lesson 101: People will put you down but you need to stand up and tell them that you can do whatever you like, however and whenever you like. When someone told me that I should sit home and not be a chef, I was hurt but I stood up and told him to respect me and my position in my kitchen. I made sure I called a meeting telling my entire team how I plan to run a kitchen and that I'm in charge. So, if anyone has a problem they are free to leave. That day onwards they respected me and never spoke so rudely. They saw my work and appreciated learning from me too."
"I am inspired by Chef Dominique Crenn. She's fought cancer. She's an environmentalist, a fantastic chef and super optimistic. I love reading her posts on women in the culinary sphere and her everyday work-life balance. She does it so beautifully and in such a strong way!"
Preeti Shenoy, Author, Illustrator and Blogger
"'Inspire' is a very strong word, and I can't think of anyone who really inspires me.
I admire Danielle Steel for the sheer number of books she has written, for her discipline and for the number of times she has been on the New York Times bestseller list. I also totally admire the invisible workforce of women in India: The maid who does the cleaning, the lady at the gym who cleans the equipment, the sweepers in the malls, the ladies who clean the toilets at airports and many more who are unnoticed. They come from extremely difficult circumstances and backgrounds. They are resilient and they quietly, uncomplainingly do what has to be done. In a country where female infanticide numbers are shocking, where the girl child has to fight to even live, I think that is admirable. Also, only 27 per cent of women work in India. This ratio has to go up significantly if we are to achieve equality."
Deanne Pandey, Celebrity Fitness Expert and Health Coach
"The life lesson I learnt was that you must learn to love yourself, no matter what. You have to come first, your health, body, mind and soul. That's the only way you will strive for life and have deep inner happiness and peace. All this comes from following your passions and doing what you love. Learn to say no to anything that is bringing you negative energy. You do not have to please everyone & not everyone will like you. Learn to accept that."
"The woman who inspires me would be Jillian Michaels."
Evelyn sharma, actor and founder of Seams For Dreams
"It is often said that being a woman, it is harder for us to find our place and be independent. I think this is when we put in all our capabilities and find ways to make things work for us even when it is the toughest of times. Being someone who has the voice to influence others, I just want to let all my fellow ladies know that we are much more capable of doing things that can change the path of the way the society works today and all we need is a little extra confidence."
"I really admire Malala Yousafzai because she has shown the entire world that age does not matter when you want to bring about a change in the ways of society. All you need is determination and focus on what you want to really achieve in life."
Deepa Narayan, author and founder of 'Chup Circles'
"I want to tell women about the F word. Fear. Nobody talks about fear. Parents raise girls to be full of fear, don’t do this, don’t do that, bad things will happen, and then as adults, you are suddenly expected to be fearless, march into boardrooms, offices and homes and say what you think and do what you want to do. How is that possible? So, I used my strong will to get going early in life, but I never acknowledged the ball of fear that prevented me from speaking up in marriage and at work. I made the fear personal, I thought it was my fault that I had all this fear. Fear to me was a sign of weakness, a source of shame.
My life changed when I reframed fear to tell me that something exciting, different needs to happen, when fear bubbles, you know something needs to come through. So reframe fear: Fear is the Champagne of Life, let it bubble through. Become free."
"I admire Barkha Dutt, the journalist who refuses to stop, who refuses to be terrorized, who refuses to be 'Chup', who refuses to be appropriate, who refuses to be afraid, who refuses to give up. She is one of those women who breaks all the rules, who lives life on her own terms, and despite all the trolls, all the threats and all the viciousness aimed at her, as a person remains extremely gracious, generous, charming, caring and compassionate."
Gabriella Demetriades, Actor and Founder of Deme_Love
"I want to tell women to feel free to make mistakes. Don't worry about trying and failing because of that's part of the process. I've never thought myself any different to a man besides that we are more empathetic and emotionally more available. So, I have always commanded that respect as a human being."
"I have always been inspired by Ayn Rand as an author and great thinker. In recent times, I really admire digital influencer Danielle Bernstein, who has cultivated an amazing business and fan-following while dealing with a lot of cyber-bullying."
Anisha Singh, CEO and founder of MyDala.com
"My everyday heroes are single working moms. I’m a working mother and I know how hard it is to try and balance it all that too with a super supportive partner and family.
Every time I meet a single working parent, especially a woman... I know she has to give it 200 per cent on the home front as well as work front and that to me calls for immense respect. Even their kids somehow seem more resilient and grounded because they know all that their mother is doing for them and as a result of growing up with such a strong role model."
Angel Bedi, Artist and Illustrator
"Frida Kahlo for me has always been an inspirational woman. It's cliched but Frida has always used her colourful eccentric art to overcome tough times .. my intuitive painting workshops are inspired by her because we all need art and its healing powers the most during trying times."