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5 Amazing Women Who’re Busting The Myth That Some Careers Are Only For Men

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How often does it happen that we call a mechanic and there comes a woman to help us out? Or maybe you call an electrician at home and a woman reaches your place to do the job? Have you seen women driving buses, autos and heavy vehicles such as trucks? Many people today are great proponents of gender equality and also believe that women are no less than men. Even though there are some career paths which are male dominated, there are still some women who have broken the walls of societal judgement and have excelled in the fields which were thought to be unfit for women.

Recently, a start-up named UrbanClap released a video for its advertisement and very nicely told the stories of women in different careers. The video is a scene of an average 27-28-year-old male who is helped by women at different stages. This is a salute to all those women who have taken the paths which were thought to be so far away from their reach. The women who follow the unconventional path not only open the doors of opportunity for other women but also encourage them to choose a career which they find suitable, without thinking of what the society would say. Let’s read about women who took the path of courage and excelled in their field.

ishita-malaviya-1

1. Ishita Malaviya-Surfer

Surfing is a profession that has always been thought of as a man’s sport. One cannot even think of a woman taking it up as a profession. Even in television and any form of media, we see men cutting the waves and working as surfers. An average man never pictures a woman taking part in such a risky sport. However, defying all the norms, Ishita Malaviya, who is from Mumbai, is the first woman surfer from India. She not only encouraged many young girls to learn the art of surfing but also challenged those who are against dark skinned women. She has broken several stereotypes and will remain an inspiration not only for those women who are interested in following the sport, but also those who plan to take up careers which they are passionate about.

QINHUANGDAO, CHINA - MAY 13: Ayako Minowa (Red) of Japan fights against Mery Kom Hmangte (Blue) of India in the Women's 51kg preliminary match during the AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships on May 13, 2012 in Qinhuangdao, China. The AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships 2012 which is a London Olympic Games Qualifying Event will be held from May 11 to 19. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

2. Mary Kom-Boxer

Whenever we think of buying a gift for a small girl, the first thought that comes to our mind is that of a doll. However, there are girls who are far away from being delicate like a doll and can show any man their strength if given the chance. Women are always thought of as weak and soft. However, there are some who prove their courage and strength and even men can’t stand in front of them. Mary Kom is one such lady who has taken up the career of boxing which has always been dominated by men. She is a five-time world champion and is the only woman boxer who has won a medal in six world tournaments. Now, she runs a boxing school for girls and gives them proper training for reaching new heights in this sport.

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3. Shatbhi Basu-Bartender

If someone goes to a bar for a drink, they see a man juggling  glasses and mixing up different drinks to make a perfect concoction. Fifteen years ago, the industry was 100% dominated by men. There was not even a single lady in this profession. In Indian society, this is a difficult job even for a man and one can just imagine how the society would react if a woman wilfully decides to take this up as a career. However, Shatbhi Basu, took the front seat and opted for bartending as a full-time profession. She chose this career at the time when even men used to hesitate to work in this field. Now, at the age of 55, she heads a bartending school named STIR. She not only opted for this unconventional career field but also made it a mainstream career for many women as well as men. Through her institute, she has given a great foundation to this career in India.

Image Source: Youtube

4.  Prema Ramappa-Bus Driver

If you search online about women drivers, you will find plenty of jokes to laugh at for days. Most men and even some women perceive that women can’t be good drivers. For a public transport, they would never trust a woman driver. However, the times are changing drastically and now we can see many women driving buses and trucks. The direction to the women, in this case, was given by Prema Ramappa Nadapatti, who became the first woman driver in Bengaluru. She started working in the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation. She said that it all started when her husband died and she had no other choice to survive than to take up a career which is considered to be the forte of men. Her colleagues often call her ‘daredevil’. After looking at her, many women have started working in this field.

bharti-singh-comedian
Image Source: Bharti Singh/ Facebook

5. Bharti Singh-Stand Up Comedian

India, which has had great comedians such as Mehmood and Johny Lever, nobody pictures a woman cracking jokes on different day to day activities with the same ease. Even in most of the reality shows on TV, the participants are men and even if there are women, no one has been able to make her name as well as Bharti Singh. She was the first Indian woman comedian who received attention from viewers because of perfect comic timing and skills. Even though she was body shamed many times because of her weight, she used it as a characteristic to make people laugh. Following her and by getting inspired by her, many young women have started doing shows and events to make people laugh. Her efforts to inspire other women in this field will surely give results in the near future with many more women comedians.

These examples are not the only ones in our big country. There are many more stories which even we have failed to cover due to lack of space. Every day several women stand up for their rights and fight for what belongs to them. These career options also belong to them. There is no one who can take this opportunity away from them. The only thing that is required is passion and dedication. The above women have inspired many other women and this chain will keep on growing. We can definitely say that India is growing rapidly with doors of opportunities opening up for men and women both equally. There is no point in labelling any career as a ‘male’ or ‘female’ career. Today, almost all the career options are suitable for everyone and this wave is certainly giving a new direction of growth to the country.

Many career counsellors have also started providing guidance to women about how they can choose a specific career of their interest. This is the time when we need to pave a road towards aims and goals for women rather than confining them to a few careers and hoping that gender equality would come out of it.

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Featured Image source: Shatbhi Basu/ Facebook, Ishita Malaviya/ Facebook, Feng Li/ Getty Images
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  1. Ankit Agrawal

    In India only more than 3000+ career options are available. There is no such eligibility
    https://www.edumilestones.com/

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
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