“Man has muscle but woman has heart,” Kiran Bedi tells AAPI delegates
“Man has muscle but woman has heart. I can be anything that a man can be, but a man cannot a mother.” Kiran Bedi, Lt. Governor of Puducherry, told AAPI delegates at the prestigious Women’s Forum during the 10th annual Global healthcare Summit at the Radisson Blu Hotel auditorium, Udaipu, India on December 28, 2016. Organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) the Women’s Forum had a galaxy of successful women, who shared with the delegates their own stories of growing up and facing challenges with conviction and courage, and have today become role models for other women around the world. Sonal Kalra, Chief Editor of Hindustan Times, Entertainment Magazine, moderated the Forum.
While sharing her own life’s story, Kiran Bedi said, “As a child, I grew up hearing an absolutely revolutionary statement from my parents: ‘Kiran, you are no less than anyone in the world. Both you and your brother are the equal,’” Stating that women are no less than men, Bedi told the AAPI delegates that the difference is the access to opportunities. “If you have the right kind of opportunities, and do not use them, only you are to blame. “I was able to work and succeed in a men’s world.” she told the audeince.
“When you have equal opportunity, both men and women will be the same. The difference is how to use your opportunities and how you are able to generate positive energy around you,” she told a cheering audience. Her advice to women was, “Rise above the gender biases. If I am doing better today, I can contribute to make the world a better place for all, in the process bettering yourself each and every day so that you can change your perception and make yourself better than others…”
Amrita Fadnavis, Co-Chair of the Women’s Forum, and the Vice President of AXIS Bank, shared with the enthusiastic audience about her own life. “From early in life, my parents stressed on individuality. I was able to grow up with boys and shared equal responsibilities,” she said. Describing that a turning point came in her life, after her marriage to the current Chief Minister of the state of Maharastra, Mr. Fadnavis.
“While I was already working before marriage. And I liked to continue my work and music in spite of people pushing me to give up job. It’s been a great journey for me and I never wanted to give up my identity and my job helps me stay connected with people and the latest in my area of work. It’s about your conviction, confidence and realizing your values. It make a huge difference,” she said. Describing that woman is a multi-tasker, who can be a mother, wife, career-oriented and many more, Fadnavis said, “When you study woman, you know how talented they are. The importance of woman comes when you realize the importance of homemaker.”
Zeenat Aman, Bollywood Actress, said that she comes from a woman-centric family. “From eary on in life, my mother convinced me that there isn’t anything that you can not do. Its all about having faith and resilience,” she said. Her suggestion to all women was; “Give 100 percent of yourself to everything that you do; as a mother, daughter and at work. I have tried to be a mother to my children in the same was my mother has been to be.” Looking at the men in the packed auditorium, the Bollywood star said, “All mothers have to be deeply respected.”
Dr. Madhu Aggarwal, AAPI’s BOT Chair, shared of her experiences growing up in a family with her three sisters, all of them, having worked hard and have been able to become Physicians. “My parents insisted on the need for education and that paid off.” Stating that she is well liked by staff and patients she serves in the US, Dr. Aggarwal said, It’s all due to my hard work, being polite, humble, and discipline. I have a busy practice. And I am able to give back to the community. I have been inducted into the Hall of Fame in US, which is a rare honor for any Indian American.”
Veenu Gupta, Principal Secretary, Health, Government of Rajasthan, said, how through hard work and dedication, she was able to become what she is today. “But the crown was full of thorns,” she said. “People need to understand and recognize the need to give up the discriminatory traditions,” she said.
Dr. Ratna Jain, Former Mayor of Kota, Brahma Kumari Chakradari of the Brahma Kumari Foundation, Dr. Savita of the Brahma Kumari Foundation, Dr. Shabnam Singh of the Max Institute; Preeti Malhotra of the SMART Group; Dr. Udhaya Shivanghi, Chair of AAPI’s Women’s Forum were other panelists who addressed the audience and spoke about the noble initiatives they have undertaken, after having overcome many initial challges from family, society and cultural groups, and how they have become successful in life.
The Forum had a brief discussion with special focus on addressing Child and Maternal health. The all women experts panel, had prominent women leaders from various fields including, Hospital CEO’s, Academicians, Leading Researchers, Healthcare Industry, Government, Public Health, Media, Bollywood and others.
During a lively Question and Answer session, panelist offered insightful responses to questions from both men and women from the audience. You do what is your duty to do. Don’t wait for acceptability,” Kiran Bedi said, “You do not have the right to change others’ attitude but when you continue doing what is your duty and recognition will come at the end.”