Women Empowerment – My Story

Talk on Women Empowerment on Women’s day-2010 at American Centre

Good Evening Ladies and Gentleman. Today, on WOMAN’S DAY, we’ve all gathered here to pay a tribute to some of India’s most recognized women who have made a difference to the way a woman is perceived and has ‘walked the path less traveled leaving their ‘footprints on the sands of time’…

We’ve all heard of the famous quote “Behind every successful man is a woman” Clearly stating that traditionally the place of women has been seen behind a man, a follower, as someone who is equally capable as a man and yet does not have the right to become what a man becomes.

The problem in India is that the society has never worked sincerely on gender equality. As long as a woman is born and raised to feel handicapped because she is a woman, as long as she is paraded around for matrimony and judged on her looks, fairness etc as long as she is vulnerable to society because it does not respect her womanhood the equation is unlikely to change.

Empowerment comes from true freedom to be oneself!! The day a woman in India can live on her own terms without fear, and not see her womanhood treated as sign of weakness she will see the balance improve in her favor. One of the major Challenges of women empowerment in India is to change the attitude of society towards women and of a woman to her own self!

As I stand here today, I ask myself, how did I get here? It’s because I realized that Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. You can actually have the life that you think only happens to other people.

I was born with stars in my eyes, in a very modest family where each day was a struggle and life was tough! Cook, clean…that was considered the best job for a women. All that I could’ve dreamed of at that time was to be something my parents would be proud of, a good mother and a good wife. Society demanded that I didn’t look beyond that. Growing up was difficult too as my height and my physical strength blocked a lot of career opportunities for me. But Like any small town girl my dreams were to become an Air hostess, maybe an actress or even Miss India!

Everyone said I was too short, too fat. Too poor. My classmates called me ” Mini Road roller” and so like a road roller my marks slipped…and my confidence dipped too. Learn stitching, cooking, and mopping….those were the orders coming from all around!!! But no!! Why should a women learn only all this alone… I already knew the basics of home keeping?? I rebelled and therefore to weigh myself in the mans world, I joined the army. The army is known for its professionalism, tough life, and discipline. Here I discovered that both sexes undergo identical training, and the women are expected to reach the same fitness levels as the men. The life of independence was hard and to surpass the challenges of this new life was to strengthen myself physically and mentally to fight the law of society and prove that women can do it too!! That women place is not just in the kitchen. I was tossed around like clothes in a washing machine and was polished from the inside and outside making me one of the first commissioned lady army officers from Himachal Pradesh. A proud moment for me and a shock to the people who looked down upon me physically and as women!

During my Army training we were taught Grooming, Etiquette and poise. Whenever I interacted with my civilian friends I noticed they lacked the ability to conduct themselves gracefully and always thought the technical knowledge was most important to get ahead in life. Girls who were married had let themselves go and life for them had almost come to a full stop!! They had stooped caring for themselves… as the saying goes:

“engagement hui, aadhi gayi, shaadi hui, puri gaayi, baccha hua, maar gayi”.

This got me thinking that if they are encouraged and these small graces could be taught to everyone outside, we Indian women who were struggling to come out of our shells would be able to face the world more confidently and boldly in personal, professional and social life. And that’s where I made the blue print of my plan to be a trainer in social graces and motivate other women to be their best.

After having led an independent life in the army, when I got married, just like any other lady, I had to make a lot of adjustments. I even had to give up my flourishing career. I realized again that families will take ages to come out of the mold of “women are a home maker only”!!.I noticed that all around me the plight of the Indian women was the same… they cooked, they cleaned, they paid bills, and they helped kids in home work and did not have even a moment to themselves!! And to add to the misery, when men fork returned home, they often said.” What did you do the whole day?!”

My Army Training…. and a course from a Swiss Indian finishing school empowered me enough to stand on my feet confidently and now when kids were able to do without my help. I plunged into my mission of making my fellow sisters confident of themselves.

Even though I had this trunk full of knowledge I soon realized that no one was interested in investing their time to learn these social skills and thought it was a sheer waste of time.

Ladies refused to come for classes saying that their husbands feel that they should give time to kids instead and not waste time on useless things! Why do you need grooming classes? If it was some cooking or home decoration classes, they had full permission. More often than not I was fighting my way through to give complimentary lessons at various places to spread awareness about this subject.

Women had to really struggle to make their husbands and the men at home break free from the chains of limiting belief patterns and societal or religious conditioning that have traditionally kept women suppressed and unable to see their true beauty and power, and to make them understand that a confident lady can bring up confident family!!.2 to 10, 10 to 20….slowly ladies realized that they need to live for themselves too…. one thing led to another and I realized that India had come of age to be able to understand the importance of social graces and here I am today after training millions of students of different age groups, and backgrounds.

Today, I am very happy to say that I am a brand of my own and have been able to make a difference in the lives of many women, and have been able to give them a solid ground of confidence to stand on to face any situation be it at home or outside.

My biggest feedback comes in the form of appreciation when a lady tells me that her husband feels proud to take her to office events, when a boss tells me that he sees a difference in his team’s attitude, when a would be bride is accepted on her virtues rather than her looks and a middle class girl tells me she won a beauty contest but my proudest moment is when I look around me and see the lives of so many women that I have been able to touch and the poise with which they carry and conduct themselves in their daily life..

My message to women is, that the first step to self empowerment is to learn to first love yourself, because if you look down upon yourself, you can never truly love anyone else. No one is perfect, and expecting perfection from yourself or anyone else is a waste of time. By honoring yourself and treating yourself with respect, you set the stage up for others to treat you with respect.

Another thing I would like to tell all my Indian sisters that DON’T BE AFRAID TO HAVE A DREAM. Because one of the most amazing things about this life is that dreams can become reality, and I offer myself as living proof. With self belief and faith truly incredible things can happen to you. I promise you one thing. It won’t be easy, but it’s easier than spending your life wishing that you’d done something, and feeling disappointed in yourself for never having tried.

Women’s empowerment cannot take place unless women come together and decide to self-empower themselves. A movement has to be build which awakens the individual self in each and every woman for creative and generative action. This shall help us sow the seed for real women empowerment in India.

If I, a small town girl with all my imperfections managed to crack the mans world of Army, who wanted to be an air-hostess – is teaching them to be one, who wanted to be Miss India, is training them, who wanted to be an actress is hired to groom them…IF I can make my dream a reality. Believe me so can any of you…

I would like to wrap up this speech with a beautiful sher!

Kaun kehta hai ki aasman mai surakh ho nahi sakta!
ek patther to tabiyet se uchalo yaaro!

Remember- Nothing is Impossible

Thank you

Pungky Dwiasmoro Hiswardhani

Next Post

Skinny Guy Transformation - Tips To Go From Skinny To Muscular

Tue Jan 30 , 2024
If you’ve ever flicked through one of the many bodybuilding and fitness magazines out there, then you may have wished you could transform your skinny body like the guys on the covers. So, what’s holding you back from achieving your very own skinny guy transformation? Is it lack of knowledge […]

You May Like