Empowered women, empower many more women. Women’s day is a celebration of empowerment, equality and accomplishments of women. This women’s day we highlight ten empowered women achievers of Lucknow who are a true inspiration and have set some real goals for others to follow. Lucknow is proud to be the birthplace of these exceptionally amazing ladies who have fought the societal barriers, worked hard in their respective fields and made the country proud. On this International Women’s Day, we want our readers to take a moment to read about their contributions and applaud their dedication and achievements.
1. Sehba Hussain
Calling her an activist can never justify her immense contribution to her field of work. Born in Lucknow this lady has given wings to the weak and needy of the society. The co-founder and honorary treasurer of Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in Lucknow, Sehba is founding Board member and Executive Director of Lucknow-based, BETI (Better Education Through Innovation) Foundation which was established in 2000. Sehba Hussain has not only worked in India but has also worked with UNICEF for nearly 17 years, both as an International and National professional. She is also a member of the executive committee of the National Mission for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, for universalization of elementary education in India. Lucknow is proud to serve as home to this exemplary lady.
2. Pankaj Bhadouria
When we talk about Lucknow, the first thing that comes to our mind is the food here and we have Chef Pankaj Bhadouria making Lucknow proud in the field of Food and culinary. Winner of MasterChef India Season 1. She was the first MasterChef Winner worldwide to have an official MasterChef Cookbook in her name and has written two more cookery books Barbie- I am a Chef, and Chicken from my Kitchen. Pankaj Bhadouria is an inspiration to all those housewives who know that their talent of cooking delicious food can actually come to be of greater use. She started her culinary academy in Lucknow on 16 August 2012. It offers Professional Courses and Certificate Courses for amateur chefs. Apart from this, she started training “Railway Children” in skill development -Bakery, in association with NGO – Ahsaas. A true Inspiration for the women today.
3. Madhvi Kuckreja
Born in Lucknow, this laudable lady has fought and won for the change in lives of deprived and dalit women in Uttar Pradesh. She founded Vanangana, an organization working for protecting the rights of women in Chitrakoot and Banda districts. Apart from that she currently runs Sanatkada, a Crafts and Weaves Store in Lucknow which is engaged in marketing products for more than a 100 groups from across India. Sanatkada ka Adda is a cultural set up that has been organizing the annual Lucknow Festival of crafts, culture, and food in Lucknow city. With ladies of such willpower and zeal, the city needs no other source of motivation.
4. Asma Hussain
Decendent of the royal family of Awadh, she is a fashion designer, she displayed her first collection in 1994 and founded the Asma Hussain Institute of Fashion Technology (AIFT) in Uttar Pradesh in the same year. The institute is recognized by the Government of India’s National Council for Vocational Training. Hussain is the Chairperson and Managing Director of the Youth Upliftment and Welfare Association (YUWA), an NGO. She also has a designer outlet in Lucknow, the Asma Hussain Fashion House (AHFH). She was honored with Fashion Queen Award by Lucknow Award Council in 1997, Rohit Khosla Award by Bhartiya Fankar Society Lucknow in 1998, Laxman Mela Award in 2003, Mahila Shiromani Award in 2003, and Best Woman Entrepreneur Award by the Women Commission Government in 2005.
5. Runa Banerjee
An Indian social worker and the co-founder of the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), Lucknow with Sehba Hussain, she serves as the General Secretary and the Chief executive officer. She was one among the PeaceWomen Across the Globe who were collectively nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005, which was eventually won by Mohamed ElBaradei. The Government of India awarded her the fourth highest civilian honor of the Padma Shri, in 2007, for her contributions to Indian society. Runa Banerjee excellent personality and contribution towards society has made Lucknow proud.
6. Parveen Talha
Born in Lucknow, Parveen Talha became the first Muslim Woman to serve in any Class I civil service in India, the first Indian Revenue Service officer to become a member of the Union Public Service Commission and the first woman to serve in Narcotics Department of India. She has given many ‘firsts’ to the women of today breaking the stereotypes of the society. The reputable woman, Parveen Talha received the highest Indian civilian award, Padma Shri by The Government Of India making the city very proud.
7. Malini Awasthi
This famous Indian Folk singer traces her origin back to the land of Nawabs, she was awarded the honurable Padma Shri by the Government Of India. She sings in Hindi language dialects like Awadhi, Bundelkhandi, and Bhojpuri. She also presents in Thumri and Kajri. Apart from this, She was appointed as the brand ambassador by Election Commission for UP Elections 2012. Ladies like Malini Awasthi inspire women to explore different fields and shine out bright. Her talent is an inspiration to people of all generations.
8. Kanak Rekha Chauhan
A lady who needs no introduction for the Lucknowites. Kanak Rekha Chauhan is a name that people associate with the bringing back of the cultural heritage of Awadh. Her dedication and love for literature has changed the way people look towards the age-old literary work. She has been working for the revival of the art and culture of the city and has been making her efforts to connect more and more youth to the purpose. She is an admirable figure who inspires women all over to do what interests them the most.
9. Mehru Jaffar
Born and brought up in Lucknow, Mehru Jaffar completed her graduation in English literature from Lucknow University and has written three books till now named as, The Book Of Nizamuddin Aulia, The Book of Muinuddin Chishti, and The Book of Muhammad- -all three of which have a strong connection with the Awadh history. Mehru Jaffar has done commendable work in her field working passionately on her dreams inspiring us all along.
10. Nishi Pandey
A senior educationist and a committed social worker, Professor Nishi Pandey, has made immense contributions to the fields of literary studies, higher education and Research. Prof. Pandey has a teaching experience of more than 30 years at the Graduate, Post Graduate and Doctoral level. She has been very active in her field and is a well known name in the field of academics. She was the Professor-Director of the UGC-Academic Staff College (ASC), University of Lucknow and has also served as Dean Student Welfare and Chief Provost of the University. She is the first woman to have served the post of Chief Proctor at the University. Not only the Department of English and Modern European Languages, University of Lucknow but the whole city is proud of her contributions.
We thank all these ladies–today and every day–for their contribution and courage. Thank you, Ladies! We Owe It To You!
Let us share the inspiration further and inspire more women in our lives. Today and every day! 🙂