Aruna Bahuguna, Ananda Jayant and Suchitra Ella address the delegates of the WWC 2014 at UoH

When Aruna Bahuguna reported for duty along with 54 colleagues, her officers were baffled. It was the first time that a woman donned the uniform of a police officer, and she was the only one to do so for another four years at least. What, they wondered, were they to do with this sprightly young woman?

Ananda Jayant had office clerks addressing her “sir” for a month, and visitors looking for the man whose relative this young woman must be, before coming to terms with the fact that a woman was an Indian Railways Service officer.

Suchitra Ella was all of 16 when she decided to be a trail-blazer, and walked into her principal’s office to announce she would contest to be student captain- the first girl to do so. She walked away with the captain’s badge, elected popularly.

These three women took the stage at the World Women’s Congress 2014 at University of Hyderabad (UoH). Their life experiences as women traversing professional terrains, and balancing their passions with the expectations that the society has of them as women, summed up the entire discourse on women empowerment in India.

Aruna Bahuguna

Aruna Bahugana’s journey as the first woman IPS officer was a challenge in itself. All the more challenging was her struggle to follow her heart and deal with the stereotypical attitudes aiming barbs at her. She enjoys the challenge of dealing with deviants, understanding the experiences of the different worlds of criminals and to be a change maker.

She spoke of her second marriage, after losing her first husband at a young age, at the age of 55 to a man who was also getting into his second marriage. Both of them had two kids each from their first marriage. That a 55-year-old mother of two was getting married drew flak and made news, while not a word was against the man who was going through a similar situation.

Ananda Jayant

Ananda Jayant has been dancing since the age of four, when a stranger in a temple advised her to take up dancing as she had big eyes. Dance then became her all-encompassing passion that helped her survive the most testing times of her life combating breast cancer. She advices all to recognize and nourish their passions, as nothing short of those passions closest to heart can help one through the toughest parts of their life.

Suchitra Ella

Suchitra Ella elaborated her journey from a spirited young wife of an MNC job-holder to the co-founder of Bharat Biotech International Limited, company that caters to populace in 70-80 countries today. Bharat Biotech was set up during 1996 – 98 with an investment of 12 crores. She stressed time and again on the need to be prepared to face anything life throws at one, turning each apparent stumbling stone as a fresh platform for growth.

-Harika Vankadara, MA-Communication