I’m every woman: 4 women talk about how they see their role models in them
Having women as role models who drive us to make impactful changes in our lives is one of the most important aspects of reaching our collective goal of empowerment and equity.
This International Women’s Day, here are four women on whom they look up to for inspiration and why.
Kamal Kaur - Yashpal Kaur
Kamal Kaur, Mountaineer
Growing up watching our mothers tackle all the odds that come their way with strength and courage, while being our pillar of support at the same time has made many of us consider them the most important woman in our lives. It’s no different for Kamal Kaur.
Kamal Kaur is a mountaineer who has scaled some of the greatest heights around the world and continues to do so.
She has conquered five out of the Seven Summits including Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, Aconcagua in South America, Mount Meru in Africa, Elbrus in Russia and Denali in North America. She has successfully tackled 10 high altitude mountains across the globe; Machu Pichu and Mount Misti in South America, Cho Oyo in Tibet and Ama Dablan in Nepal to name but a few. This 35-year old who resides in the United Kingdom was inspired by her mother.
She says: “My late mother Yashpal Kaur is the only role model I have ever had and still is. She
has taught me strength, compassion, and to be the person I am. She taught me never to
let anyone stand in the way of who I am or what I want to do. She taught me how to endure,
focus, to keep calm and meditate (although that came later in my life). Her passion
for fashion and travel from her younger days must be where I get it from as I myself
love fashion and love designing and being creative, she also ingrained my Indian
roots growing up in the UK wasn’t an easy task. My mother was one of the most
dedicated and strongest women I know until today.”
Aparna Thakker - Mary Kom
Aparna Thakker, Founder, Empowerji
"If I, being a mother of two, can win a medal, so can you all. Take me as an example and don't give up." - Mary Kom
The 37-year-old is the CEO and Founder of Empowerji, a company that offers digital literacy to senior citizens.
“Although there are many women I look up to, I feel really inspired by Mary Kom. Growing up she had no opportunities or support but she still achieved her dreams. Even after her marriage and children, she did not stop doing what she loved. She came back and how. She is an inspiration to everyone,” she says.
“Another person who inspires me is Michelle Obama. She is an educated strong woman who used her powers as the First Lady to influence so much good. Her initiatives on education and empowerment of young women are inspiring. She is a model of poise and confidence as well,” she adds
Niru Kumar - Michelle Obama
Dr. Niru Kumar, Founder and D&I consultant, Ask Insights
"When women and girls rise, their communities and their countries rise with them" - Michelle Obama
Dr. Niru Kumar is the Founder and D & I consultant of Ask Insights. Global experts on Diversity and Inclusion that provides consulting and training to fortune 500 companies all over the world.
Niru tells us why she is inspired by Michelle Obama. “I truly admire one such powerful and charismatic personality - Michelle Obama. She neither needs an introduction nor an explanation of why she is a role model for women around the world. She not only teaches to believe in your dreams but she also teaches to stand up for what you believe in, grow and help others grow and also why it's important to give back to society.”
Through the Global Girls Alliance, Michelle Obama encourages girls, especially adolescents who tend to drop out of school because of familial and societal pressures, to share their stories. The Global Girls Alliance also helps these girls get the education they need by raising funds and conducting presentations on the importance of education.
Priyanka Gera - Smriti Irani
Priyanka Gera, Co-founder and COO, Oxfordcaps
Priyanka Gera is the Co-founder and COO of Oxfordcaps, a student housing company headquartered in Singapore.
“There are many inspirational women around us, but one that I have come to admire
most in recent times is Ms Smriti Irani. Her journey, her career and her grit is
something that I really look upto, and have learnt a lot from just watching her.\,” she says.
Smriti Irani started her career right after 10th grade, doing odd jobs while simultaneously auditioning for an acting role. Even after she had children in the early 2000s, she went on to become one of the most sought-after actresses on Indian television, and eventually started her own production company, while also pursuing a career in politics. Her leadership skills and ability to juggle responsibilities inspire many today.
The world already loves pitting us against each other, so let’s become our own support system, help each other grow, and spread love. Here’s to us and all the women who’ve made a difference!