MAFS International Women’s Day was held on Wednesday, March 8th, 2023, in Chicago. International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. When people across the world unite to celebrate the spirit, strength, and success of women, makes the day exceptional. This year’s women’s day theme was DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality,” and it highlights the role of innovative technology in promoting gender equality and meeting the health and developmental needs of women and girls. The event was emceed by Roshita Pandey, MAFS Grant Director. Dr. Santosh Kumar, Founder, and Executive Director of MAFS welcomed all for coming to celebrate the MAFS International Women’s Day event. Dr. Santosh Kumar mentioned the women from all over the world and from different fields/backgrounds who have achieved so much in their life.
Dr. Santosh Kumar, through her speech, passed on a solid message to younger generations that feminism is being strong and confident in our own skin. Both men and women should celebrate their unique strengths and traits and work together in tandem to achieve great heights. The event started with the lighting of the auspicious lamp by all the dignitaries. The esteemed panel of guests included Dr. Anindita Ghosh, wife of India Consul General of Chicago; Yolanda Curry, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Family and Support Services, City of Chicago; Nikki Garbis Proutsos, Assistant Commissioner, Department of Family and Support Services, City of Chicago. All of them were powerful women achievers in their own filed and they effectively addressed the topic of women empowerment and gender equality in their special ways.
While Dr. Anindita Ghosh, put light on the facts and figures and changing scenarios of women empowerment in India, Yolanda Curry gave facts that over 60% of college degrees rewarded in the United States are earned by women in education, health services, and social security. She emphasized the difference between equality and equity. She believed women should support women – ‘each one, reach one’. Nikki Proutsos recognized MAFS for proving meals to seniors during the pandemic. She profusely thanked Mrs. Santosh Kumar and Roshita for doing all the public benefit programs, hot dinner programs, and social security for more than 30 years. She shared her favorite quote that says ‘A man is a head, and a woman is a neck, and she can turn the head anywhere she wants’.
The event showcased powerful dance performances on the theme of “Nari shakti” or “women empowerment” by MAFS/UMAS seniors ad staff. A humorous Hindi play with a moral/life lesson was also staged by the seniors. It had the audience in splits. The last and the most awaited segment was the giving away of the “Woman of Substance Awards”. The awardees were MAFS/UMAS staff and partners from across departments and roles. They were women who inspire others with their hard work, commitment, and passion for work, both on the professional and personal front. The audience cheered for all the awardees and overall, the event was a big success in celebrating the spirit of womanhood.