Keep the Pace with Women Leaders: press conference
- IWB Post
- March 7, 2014
We are all geared up for the ‘Mentoring Walk’ happening on March 8, 2014 in Jaipur celebrating International Women’s Day. Adding to the glory, the walk is taking place all over the world in about 42 countries, supported by the ‘Vital Voices’.
Towards this, the press conference was organized on 6th March inviting all the leading publishing channels of Jaipur to communicate the spirit of this walk among all the city’s residents. The idea behind this walk is to see the already-established women leaders from various fields nurturing potential of city’s women who are planning to venture into a new field – be it business, education, crafts, food, social work, etc.
At city’s fun venue Tapri, everyone gathered including city’s renowned women leaders & journalists. One of them was Mrs. Archana Surana, the founder of Arch Academy, who is also solely responsible for bringing the idea of Mentoring Walk to our city. She started the meeting by greeting all in attendance. She then introduced the concept of Mentoring Walk talking about its origin and motto.
She said, “15 years ago Hillary Clinton brought in action the ‘Vital Voices’ organization. And this is my mentor – Geraldine Laybourne – an US media icon, who initiated the Mentoring Walk campaign. Together with the support of Fortune magazine & US government, the idea of small morning walk of women turned into a global initiative which works for women empowerment today. Geraldine Laybourne has worked alongside Oprah Winfrey for many women-oriented programs across globe – and this proves the heart of ‘Mentoring Walk’ as well. Inspired by her, I decided to bring this concept in Jaipur and hence back in 2010; I was successful in conducting one such walk.”
In a second, a journalist quipped – “Mam, we have met all the mentors and they are all successful women of Jaipur. Tell us, how you have selected the Mentees. Any criteria?”
Mrs. Archana firmly replied, “How can there be any criteria for a learner? Irrespective of the cast, religion, profession every Jaipur woman was invited to be a part of 2014 walk. We have got more than 50 entries for the position of a mentee and we have finalized all of them. On 8th you will see each one of them walking alongside us, the mentors. There are young entrepreneurs, housewives, professionals, corporate trainees, etc among these mentees.”
And then another asked – “Why only for women, why this walk is not for men? Even they suffer!”
True to his views, Mrs. Archana nodded and said, “Everyone suffers. It’s not that this gender is strong and other is weak. I believe we all have equal resources to prove ourselves. The difference between men and women is one – women give up in their minds while men don’t. They think they can’t do certain tasks; woman is suppressed in her own mind & limiting herself. Many of us tell her she has to wear pallu, she can’t go out, and she doesn’t need higher education and on the other hand we say that she is a Goddess. This walk is about changing this mentality with the help of the real life experiences and the guidance of these knowledgeable mentors, and proving that a woman can do everything.”
One of the mentors present there, Mrs. Alka Batra, Director Aegis Jobs Pvt. Ltd., continued: “Today at my workplace I met a woman who has left her home along with her kid because her husband used to beat her. I am happy she didn’t take it like many of us do. Sadly both urban and rural areas see such a behavior against women. I want to see my women standing tall with strength for themselves. And I believe this walk is going to reach out to many such women whom we help manifest their inner strength.”
Nidhi Gupta, CEO of VganE & Director Metacube Software, put a very valid point: “This walk is not about women marching to get their rights or snatch something from men. It is about women learning from other women like them.” Everyone nodded in approval. Meanwhile videos of previous Mentoring Walk in U.S and Jaipur were telecasted. Shown in there was a beautiful quote of Rajasthan Governor Mrs. Margaret Alva. It said: ‘We need to unite women in order to organize them. Because once they will unite, they can find their voice among themselves.’ How true.
The sole motto of Mentoring Walk is the same – to unite women and help them realize their potential. The mentors are expected to listen to the hurdles faces by new business women, entrepreneurs, professionals, etc and then accordingly guide them based on their experiences. Moreover, mentors will also share their contacts/networks in the respective field with the mentees so that they can be benefitted in the future. Also as Mrs. Archana told this program goes on the whole year. Every once in a while the mentor contacts her mentee and ask about how the venture/job is going. “We keep a proper check so that we can really make a difference in their lives. It is just not a day’s campaign.”- said Mrs. Archana
At the end, she concluded the session with a very logical fact. “Ever wondered how women who have reached the top of their careers keep on learning? Because they are the mentors and don’t have anyone above them to guide anymore! Well, in our case we talk to each other (pointing at other women mentors sitting there). We talk to each other and ask for suggestions like friends. And this way our learning has never ceased in all these years,” explained she.
Jaipur Women Blog Journalist