Image Courtesy - internationalwomensday.com
It’s ‘March 8’ and we can’t keep calm! Today we globally celebrate International Women’s Day. A century-old practise and event that is fuelled with one strong purpose - celebrating women and their remarkable contributions in one and many aspects of life. In an effort to drive an inspiring call to action to take responsibility for our own thoughts and actions because “an equal world is an enabled world”, UN declared this women’s day theme as #EachforEqual - “ I am Generation Equality: Realising Women’s Rights.” As relevant now as ever, the mission and meaning of this initiative veers people of varied gender, ethnicity, age, religion, race and country to embrace Collective Individualism and promote Generation Equality.
WeddingWire India sparks a conversation with the leading names of the industry to manifest challenging stereotypes, fighting bias, celebrating ‘every’ womens’ achievements and broadening perceptions. Here’s how the industry experts joined our collective movement and shared their insights about #Eachfor Equal -
Celebrity Chef, Sarah Todd
Image Courtesy - Sarah Todd Live at Armaan & Anissa's Wedding
Master of many impactful trades like restaurateur, author, ex-model and motivational speaker, and a reigning queen in the realm of Chefs, Sarah Todd is a powerhouse story who deserves to be cheered by ambitious mothers and young women with dreams. In conversation with WWI, Sarah celebrates National Women's Day in India 2020 and quotes, “We're in a world where there are just so many options. I feel more than anything, we need to support each other, with whatever choices we make, whether we agree or disagree with what these choices are.” A Celebrity favourite at their weddings, Sarah, who dons many hats and wears the chef hat with utter pride and dedication is a hardcore believer of positive mindset. “Let everyone run their own race and let’s not try and put other people down. I think it's more about living in a positive state and lifting people up, be it female or male, everyone should be supporting each other rather than pushing each other down to lift themselves up.” To share the perspective of the coming generations, she adds, “I was sitting here, just talking this through with my son and the first thing he said, was "Be Nice", and it's just so true! We should all be nice."
Co-Founder of The Wedding Designers, Yamini Shah
Image Courtesy - Yamini Shah
Image Courtesy - The Wedding Designers
Image Courtesy - The Wedding Designers
We couldn’t miss out on conversing with a name that champions female talent on a wider scale in the widest and fanciest realm of Indian Weddings. While we are of the belief that iconic wedding planners should all be titled ‘dream makers’, Yamini Shah is a dream catcher and dream maker to be reckoned with. Her wedding planning stories deserve a fairytale book of their own. On this women empowerment day in India, Yamini Shah talks to us about making a difference in the industry. She says, “We all have the power to encourage, support and empower. Gender aside, it's a collective effort we all need to put in to be #EachforEqual. Each one of us should support each other in their individual endeavours and help them achieve their goals. We need more positivity and support in this world, especially now. Every one of us is stronger and will grow faster with each other's support.” We couldn’t agree more and look upon Yamini and Rishi’s jodi as a perfect example to set “united, you can make a difference together” goals.
Esteemed Wedding Photographer, Snigdha Sheel
Image Courtesy - Snigdha Sheel
Image Courtesy - Photo Tantra
Recognised as ‘Masters of Wedding Photography’, by Sony India, Snigdha Sheel and Vinayak Das from Photo Tantra have set some mind blowing standards in the wedding photography and film industry. In a male dominated line of work, Snigdha stands apart as a woman with passion and fervour and has created some of the most heartfelt pictorial memories of Real Brides and Grooms over the years. In conversation with WWI about National Women's Day in India, she sheds light on her standpoint on #EachforEqual. “An equal world is a fair playground for individuals, societies and for businesses to thrive. Patriarchy and gender bias affects men as much as it affects women. If each one of us say no to gender bias, regressive cultural identities and practices, half the battle is won. It does more harm to civilisations and generations than we can imagine. Let's be #EachforEqual.” An achiever with an independent streak, Snigdha delves further into the conversation and limelights the importance of Collective Individualism. “Wedding industry has traditionally been male dominated until some women decided to break the glass and make successful careers in this industry. Many followed their footsteps and the result - today we have so many talented women who have contributed immensely to this sector, be it in the field of wedding photography, designing, logistics, planning, to name a few. This magnifies how our individual decisions and choices can have a collective impact on so many lives.” But the struggle is real and the esteemed photographer agrees. “We still have a long way to go. Even now there are many jobs which are only conducted by men. We as women professionals from the wedding industry need to mentor, train and encourage young women to join forces and make the wedding industry a more gender friendly/ gender neutral workplace. Women are still invisible where more labour intensive, travel intensive work is required. Most of them worry about the odd hours of work that the profession demands. It is upon us to make them feel safe and welcome so that the wedding industry becomes one of the safest workplaces yielding the maximum employment for the country.”
Amrit Shah & Priyanka Shah from Shanti Banaras
Image Courtesy - Amrit Shah
Image Courtesy - Priyanka Shah
Image Courtesy - Shanti Banaras
While legacies trickle down in the family tree, what ensures the life and longevity of a legacy is the able and responsible shoulders that carry them with dignity and pride. One such story of adding a new life to the family legacy, is that of Amrit Shah & his beautiful and talented wife, Priyanka Shah. While one has the reigns of designing in his hands and is riding the brand to its epitome, the other is the brand’s thinking tree and adds life and emotions to all their designs. The leading man of a brand that has now spanned over 70 years, shares his insight on #EachforEqual and women's status in present day. He shares, “IWD’s campaign is a strong and necessary movement for this country. I’d say that every woman, be it from an educated background or illiterate, metropolitan city or the suburbs, is looked down upon or isn’t bestowed the trust to carry the same weight as men. It takes so much time for her to earn the respect she deserves. I believe it’s high time we took a stand and appraised people for their talent and work and not their gender.” Priyanka adds an interesting insight to the conversation, “The funniest thing I was ever told - "I should be blessed that being a wife or daughter, I get the opportunity to do the things I’m getting to do and I ask back why should it be an opportunity when it’s my right to do what I do?” She puts a strong perspective in place and delves further, “ I do not take myself as a leading woman but I am a part of the force that is shaking this industry. We contribute through our sense of perfection and discipline. I wouldn’t say we are better than men but no act says we are any less. In such times, where our economy needs a strong hand, there cannot be a man or woman, we need to work together for this country’s best. Also in my daily life, I do not see any differences between me and my husband, there are times when he supports me and there are so many moments when I take the load off from his back. I do not think one is without the other. And like my father says, “the wedding industry is for and by the women, if you let them loose, you wouldn’t know what to make or whom to sell.”
Celebrity Make-up Artist, Kritika Gill
Image Courtesy - Kritika Gill
If you have ever fallen down the rabbit hole of “trending make-up trends”, you will know that Kritika Gill is the wonderland. Her fascination for colours, her expertise in creating art on a woman’s face and turn the makeup brush into a magic wand that can profusely communicate a woman’s persona is what makes her stand apart. She talks to WWI about women's status in present day India and the growing presence and visibility of women in the creative arena. She shares, “It’s so nice to walk into most sets and see more and more women. There are so many women photographers, DOP’s, directors and more. Women are ruling in truly leading roles and working as hard, as many hours as their male counterparts. We are all collectively working towards the same goal of creating beautiful work. Each on the job for their special eye, Each an equal artist in their skill set.” She further adds, Each for Equal is the message I try to live by and I’m happy that the Wedding Wire is making an effort to spread this message. We need more people to accept this thought process.”
Founder StyleCracker, Archana Walavalkar
Image Courtesy - Archana Walavalkar
Image Courtesy - StyleCracker
Remember when the only tales of fairy godmothers dressing up women the way they like, were only told in fairy tale books? Gone are those days! If style had one online destination now, we would all be definitely led to Stylecracker. Former Junior Fashion Editor of Vogue India, Archana Walavalkar, brought the best stylists together to dress us up like a dream. We have all loved it and how! In a candid conversation with WWI, Archana tells us what Women’s Day means to her. “This Women’s Day is a celebration of what makes you, YOU! And celebrate those that celebrate you. For me, It’s my husband, and my girl crew, this beautiful community I have happily stumbled into that cheers me on as much as they ground me. My wish is for each one of us to just “Believe in Ourselves” as we effortlessly march to our own beat, spreading and being the light we want to see. Unabashed, unrestrained. After all, true power hides in plain sight, we only ever need to reach within to unleash it!”
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