e4m Women Achievers Summit 2020: Equalism more important than feminism: Nandita Puri

Puri, Author & Chair, Om Puri Foundation, shared the potency of having more women leaders

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jul 30, 2020 8:26 AM

The keynote session of the e4m Women Achievers Summit 2020 held on Wneday was with Nandita Puri, Author & Chair, Om Puri Foundation. Puri highlighted why we need more women leaders worldwide and especially at the present moment.

Starting off the virtual session, Puri remarked, “I’m not a feminist per se. I just believe in equality and that is something we need worldwide. India has been one of the most progressive cultures. If you look at the time of the Aryan, Harapan, and Mohenjo-daro civilizations, women have always been leaders in the forefront. Then it became kind of a male-dominated society, not just in India but worldwide.”

Sharing more context about the history of women in India and the pioneers who took the lead, Puri said, “In India, in the 18th-19th century, women kind of took a backseat with sati and burning of women at funeral pyres of the husbands. But again women arose during the freedom struggle along with the men. There were a great number of women freedom fighters and we had women governors as well. Most importantly, India was one of the first countries to have a women Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. It is sad that one of the most progressive countries of the world the United States has still not had a woman as its head.”

Puri went on to speak about how there is a contrast in the progress between urban and rural areas. “Unfortunately, our progression is only limited to the urban Indian women in India. The women in the rural sectors rarely get a chance to be properly educated, to have the basic essentials in life in terms of food, education, literacy, and freedom. It is sad because 90% of our women represent the rural sector. But yes, though there are a lot of prejudices for the 8% (women) of the urban sector, they are much more even with the men.”

Puri advises that we don’t have to be greater or above men. But we all have to survive in tandem. “It is very important that women and men are together. Equalism is more important than feminism," commented Puri.

Speaking about the leaders of the world, Puri shared, “We have had women leaders like the former PM Indira Gandhi and the first women Vice President. Now it is very common in India to have woman CMs. But I think during the pandemic, when the world really came to a standstill and everyone was down on their knees, the women heads of the countries really took their country forward. The prime example is the Prime Minister of New Zeland. She is an amazing woman. She not only took the right decisions at the right time but she was also hands-on not only during the COVID period but also prior to that. I wish more leaders follow her example.”

Puri stated, “Women tend to multitask, especially in our present scenario in India. The women in urban areas go to work but they also do cooking and other housework. Being a homemaker is a full-time job. It's sad when they're asked what they do because it takes a huge effort to keep everything organized at home. It is not just women, we need leaders in the world who can multitask and strike a balance between home and the outside world.”

Puri started the Om Puri Foundation in 2017 and launched it at the 70th Cannes Film Festival. It was launched in the name of her late husband and legendary actor Om Puri.

Puri says when the lockdown happened and the world came to a stop. She decided that this will be the time to reach out to people. “Just helping people in the theater would not really help so much because schools, colleges, and universities were closed. Through the foundation, we reached out to over 1000 families in the Amphan affected areas of West Bengal and the Sunderbans. Also, we reached out to the Dabahwallas in Mumbai who are the daily wagers and their work had stopped completely, and farmers in Maharashtra.”

Talking about their initiatives, Puri shared, “We at the Om Puri Foundation try to help out all the women artisans. We also have the Om Puri Kisaan Scholarships and the scholarship which we award to weavers and farmers with children. We ensure it is mainly for the girl child. Because if we help them for the base then only will they rise up and we can have a very strong nation not just by being feminist but equalist.”

Signing off Puri concluded saying, “Equalism is more important than feminism. Women should have equal power and they are as strong as men. I don’t see any reason why we should be lagging behind. Now, the only thing we need to focus is on the rural women and educating them.”

The summit was presented by Adfactors PR, powered by Media Mantra and Fuzion PR was the gold partner.

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