International Women’s Day is annually observed on 8th March – a day of recognizing and celebrating women around the globe, the values they bring as individuals and as part of a community, highlighting the challenges and struggles each one of them has faced, to pave way for others.
A mother, wife, daughter, friend, but importantly an individual.
A woman of substance.
A woman with a goal and a vision – who does not step away from challenges and strives to find a better way to do things.
Who laughs, celebrates and lives life.
On this occasion, we celebrate the women of Ekya, who run every cogwheel of our chain of schools. Leading the vision of Ekya Schools is the dynamic Ms. Tristha Ramamurthy, supported by two stalwarts in education, Dr. Sabitha Ramamurthy, who leads the CMR Group of Institutions for over 25 years and Ms. Sharmila Choudhury, who is the Senior Director of Academics at Ekya, with three decades of teaching experience. The energetic and passionate women of Ekya Learning Centre strive to bring the best teaching methodologies and framework from across the world. The love and care of our Head of Schools and teaching staff nurture the citizens of tomorrow while the support staff ensures that everything runs smooth.
The women of Ekya make “Living the Lesson” possible, working diligently to create lifelong learners.
We took this opportunity to ask some of the women at Ekya for their thoughts on Women’s Day and women. The answers you see truly embody the “individual” spirit of women.
What is Women’s Day to you?
While everyone unanimously agreed that celebrating womanhood should be all day every day, rather than a dedicated annual affair, we had some interesting insights of what the day meant to each one of them.
“It’s a day to reflect on how far we have come in humankind’s journey for gender equality. Without struggle there can be no progress, and Women’s Day is a reminder to appreciate the small and big struggles women from all walks of life have overcome to ensure that men and women today lead better lives than they did before” Ms. Tristha Ramamurthy, Founder and Managing Director, Ekya Schools.
“We need to change our mindsets from celebrating women for a day as an afterthought to providing women with equal opportunities, pay and scope all over the world.” Ms. Ahlada Sudersan, Ekya Learning Centre.
“A special day to reflect and promote women’s equality and women’s rights. It’s that time of the year when we acknowledge and celebrate the lives of ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in society. Women are feted, honoured and revered.” Jyothi Menon, Head of School, Ekya School ITPL.
“It is a day of remembrance, of the hardships and struggles that women face. It is a day of celebrations, of achievements of every woman. It is also a day that highlights the issues women face, bringing a collective voice against them” Ms. Diya AnilKumar, Grade 10, Ekya JP Nagar.
“Women’s Day to me is a celebration of all the phases of a woman. It is a loud call for all the women in the world to stand up for each other and make their world filled with respect and dignity.” Ms. Poornima Mahesh, Headmistress, Ekya Early Years, Kanakapura Road.
“It’s a very important day for women across the world to come together and make the world recognize the gender inequalities and also celebrate the achievements of women who have overcome these barriers. I would like to see women in our country enjoy personal freedom and not having to deal with sexual misconduct and harassment in personal and professional arenas. They should have right to property, better educational access, equal opportunities for jobs and equal pay. We all have to do our bit to achieve full gender equality for women all over the world.”
Ms. Manisha Pandit, Ekya Learning Centre.
What is women empowerment to you?
With #PressforProgress being this year’s theme for Women’s Day, the women of Ekya had their say in what empowering women mean to them.
“To me, women empowerment means to strengthen the economic, social and educational abilities of women. Education is the most important and indispensable tool for women empowerment. It enables women to respond to the challenges, confront their traditional role and brings about a positive change in their attitude.” Ayesha Sirajuddin, Head of School, Ekya School ITPL.
“The ability to make choices is empowerment. I believe women empowerment is a movement when women will choose to work with confidence and dogged persistence towards achieving their ultimate goals, in whatever sphere it may be.“ Ms. Tristha Ramamurthy, Founder and Managing Director, Ekya Schools.
“We all mostly associate women empowerment with having equal rights and opportunities. However, a very important aspect of the journey of successful women is the support they get from their loved ones. The encouragement and moral support from the people around them play a huge role in their empowerment. To me, that is the true meaning of women empowerment. Women are moving forward in their journeys; it’s time for the world to catch up.” Ms. Trishikha Kiran Rao, Grade 10, Ekya School JP Nagar.
“Empowering a woman is to empower the entire system that surrounds her, be it family, colleagues, and friends or just about anyone. A woman only needs support and understanding and she can conquer the world. She can stand shoulder to shoulder with anyone else, be it a man or another woman and succeed in all fields. Empowering women is not a necessity because of gender discrimination as it is because of an existing system that does not feel the need to do it actively. Empowerment comes in many ways – teach her and she will be the best there is, guide her and she will lead the way, support her and she will reach the highest pinnacle, encourage her and she will make miracles happen, acknowledge her and she will make the people around her a priority and achieve beyond imagination.” Ms. Aparna Kiran Rao, Parent of Ekya.
To bring more women to the fore, we need to ensure that all girls are ensured basic school education. We need to create safe spaces for women to gather and discuss opportunities, problems and needs. Participating in a social network will encourage more women to educate themselves. We need to educate everyone at the grassroots level about the importance of treating women equally, about respecting their needs and decisions.
Who are the women you look up to?
When we asked about the women they look up to, names of mothers were on the lips of everyone. So did the names of women with inspiring stories behind them – from Indra Nooyi, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and Chandra Kocchar to Jhumpa Lahiri, Ellen Degeneres and Etta James.
“Savitribai Phule, who established the first women school in India and became the first women teacher to change the social fabric. Rosa Park and Frida Kahlo for utmost courage and determination. My mother and teachers, Dr Jyoti Dalal and Moloyashree Hashmi for their indomitable spirit and grit.” Pooja Arya, Ekya Learning Centre.
“Women in the Armed Forces, who have broken gender barriers. We need to salute them for the courage they possess as women excelling in a once male-dominated field. Being part of the Armed Forces is requires unwavering mental strength than physicality, which is proven by these women” Ms. Trishikha Kiran Rao.
“I look at myself every day and say, ‘there I am’ – the woman who has grown up from a little girl to a responsible and strong human being.” Ms. Baishakhi Roy, Ekya Learning Centre.
On Educator Appreciation Day, one of our children came dressed as Savitribai Phule, the mother of Modern Girls’ Rights and a social reformer. From that day, I have been inspired by her and her open-mindedness to bring about the change in the outlook of education and rights to girls. As an educationist, I would want to turn every stone to make learning reachable and meaningful. Savitribai Phule has been on my mind whenever I think of modern steps towards learning.
Ms. Poornima Mahesh, Headmistress, Ekya Early Years, Kanakapura Road.
“My first and foremost inspiration is my grandmother, Amrithavalli. She was a cancer survivor who faced many hardships and losses in her life with a smile. She was educated only until the fifth grade, but was a voracious reader, teaching herself Hindi and English using books. Her drive and willpower in fighting cancer, her compassion and encouragement towards others are qualities that I look up to.
I also admire the work done by Lady Ada Lovelace and Agatha Christie. Agatha Christie is a well-known household name with her stories engrossing millions of people. At a time when women authors were confined to writing social commentaries and domestic fiction, Christie paved a new path for women authors by showing that they are no less capable in the written word. Lady Ada Lovelace is known as the world’s ‘first’ programmer. Statistically, few women venture into the field of technology. Ada Lovelace is a reminder that girls can code and be as tech savvy as the boys.” Ms. Ahlada Sudersan.
For the strong women in every chapter of our lives,
May we know them,
May we be them,
May we raise them.
Happy Women’s Day!