Coming from modest backgrounds and conventional families, their achievements would be far greater for millions of young girls across India.
Jaipur: To encourage women empowerment and inspire millions by the stories of women who have made a mark in their careers, United Nations Women India recently launched a music video “Mujhe Haq Hai”. It features celebrities like Aishwarya Rai, Sana Mirza, Gul Panag, Asha Bhosle, Waheeda Rehman, Mithali Raj, P.T. Usha and Geeta Phogat along with some unknown and unsung women achievers. Among these ordinary women who broke through the glass ceiling, three are connected to Jaipur. Whether running a metro station all by themselves or dousing fire, these women entered the areas that were considered male bastions. Coming from modest backgrounds and conventional families, their achievements would be far greater for millions of young girls across India. Another women to feature in the video is Deepa Malik, India’s first woman to win a Paralympic medal.
A team of the United Nations came to Jaipur in order to know their accomplishments: How they perform their duties and overcome challenges. Their experiences were recorded to present them to the world.
In the domain of firefighting, women are largely ignored. However, with the changing times, attitude also changes. Three years ago, around 1,000 women mostly from villages and small towns applied for the post of firefighters. After a rigorous selection process, as many as 155 women candidates were selected. Of them, 50 are posted in Jaipur following training in use of water hoses, carrying ladder for evacuations, etc.
“For us it’s a very challenging field,” said Sita Khateek who, as a post-graduate in political science and holding a B.Ed degree, could have easily become a teacher in a government school. In fact, before joining the fire service, she was working in a health insurance company. It was the fire in her belly that drove her towards this profession.
In another story of achievement, Jaipur’s Shyam Nagar metro station created history by becoming the first station in the country operated by an all-woman staff. From running metro to maintenance of the station and customer support to security, every department is handled by 32 women working in two shifts at the station now called “Pratham Mahila Shakti Railway Station”.
“It’s been exciting. It’s a great feeling that some of us are handling complex and technical tasks rather than just customer relations,”said station controller Monika. Then the story of Deepa Malik is something to write home about. At the age of 29, she was detected with spinal tumour in 1999. Paralysed below chest and with 183 stitches between shoulder blades, she is an inspiration for everyone. Apart from being the first sportsperson to win a medal at Paralympics, she holds many records in swimming, biking and adventure sports.