The Federation of Indian Associations and the Indian Consulate celebrated International Women’s Day at the Indian Consulate General in New York as part of the ongoing Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav celebrating 75 years of Indian Independence. The Indian Consulate and FIA honored six women who have made prominent contributions in different fields.

The awardees included Hon Dipti Vaid Dedhia- 1st Female Municipal Court Judge New Jersey of south Asian origin, Ms. Sejal Lakhani Bhatt CEO of TechWerxe, Ms. Seema Kumar community activist, Ms Chaya Pamula, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Ms. Allison Hauser – trailblazer- Ex Director of Girls on the Run NYC and Ms. Priyanka Bhrambhat, founder of Beehively Group, Ex. Director and Group Strategist of Bankkai Group.

The event was attended by Hon. Consul General Mr. Randhir Jaiswal, Hon. DCG Dr. Varun Jeph, FIA President Mr. Kenny Desai, FIA Chairman Mr. Ankur Vaidya, Vice President Mr. Saurin Parikh, FIA Past President Mr. Srujal Parikh, FIA Jt. Secretary Ms. Smita Miki Patel, and FIA’s Ms. Rohi Singh, amongst others.

On the occasion, the Hon. Consular General, Mr. Randhir Jaiswal, in his speech, mentioned that women’s empowerment is now a part and parcel of daily conversations and thoughts. The Indian government has launched several projects like Swachch Bharat, Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao, and Ujjawal Yojna to provide gas connections across the length and breadth of India to help women come to power, especially in the rural parts of the country. These projects have brought about tremendous change. He gave the example of the state of Haryana, where the women gender ratio has gone up from 826 to 976 in just 5 years. He further went on to add that India has more than 60,000 start-ups and 50% of them have women as directors. In a lighter vein, he mentioned that the Indian Consulate is a great example of women’s empowerment as 70 per cent of the staff are women.

The Hon DCG Dr. Varun Jeph expressed profound appreciation for the indomitable spirit and the achievements of our women. He mentioned that there is no task, no area, no field in which the women have not made a mark for themselves. Their contributions to science, technology, business, academia, and space exploration have been enormous, and they have demonstrated their mettle. They have been instrumental in shaping the future of not only India and the USA, but also the rest of the world.

The FIA president, Mr. Kenny Desai, spoke about woman empowerment and said that NAARI SHAKTI has impacted our culture for several centuries and has played a major role in building and enhancing society. He mentioned that all the six awardees have made their mark at the highest levels and have significantly contributed to the community at large. He went on to add that women today are challenging gender stereotypes and their diverse representation is instrumental in accelerating the process of creating a gender balanced world.

FIA Chairman, Mr. Ankur Vaidya, congratulated the awardees and thanked the Consul General for holding the event. He broadly outlined the important roles that women play in shaping a person’s life. The awardees were felicitated and the trophies were given to them by the Hon. CG Shri Randhir Jaiswal and his wife, Dr Abha Jaiswal.

In her speech, the awardee, Hon. Judge Dipti Vaid Dedhia, said that the word JUDGE did not fit the persona she was or where she came from, but the quote – You do not have to fit into a mold created by another- stayed with her and in her achievement, she not only broke the mold but created one for herself, which continues to change shape and form as she grows.

Ms. Sejal Lakhani Bhatt said that it has been a prolonged journey for her and that her upbringing, where as a girl she was treated no differently from a boy, made her strong.

Ms. Seema Kumar said that women of South Indian origin have been making progress and breaking barriers in making the world a better place. In her speech, Ms Priyanka Bhrambhat said that she hoped that women and men would stand together equally to share, nurture, and inspire each other and succeed in pushing down the ladder so that others may come up. Ms. Allison Hauser said that International Women’s Day is not just for today but is ongoing and to be encouraged. Ms. Chaya Pamula was unable to attend the function due to extremely unavoidable circumstances, but in her message thanked the Indian Consulate and FIA for the award and said that it motivated her, her co-workers, and next generation trailblazers and changemakers to empower women and children so they can uplift themselves, their families, and their communities. The presence of every attendee celebrated the achievements of not only the recipients but all the women present at the event. The event encouraged all the other women in our community to contribute their share to society’s well-being.

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