Pink Power: The Many Hues Of A Superwoman (Part 4)

08/03/2015 8:48 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
"Rosie the Riveter" dressed in overalls and bandanna was introduced as a symbol of patriotic womanhood in the 1940's. Rose Will Monroe played "Rosie the Riveter," the nation's poster girl for women joining the work force during World War II. Monroe was working as a riveter building B-29 and B-24 military airplanes at the Willow Run Aircraft Factory in Ypsilanti, Mich., when she was asked to star in a promotional film about the war effort. (AP Photo)

Ah! It's finally upon us. As I jump out of bed pushing aside the covers -- landing firmly on my feet like a cat who still has nine lives -- and gaze out of the window, the sun seems to be shining brighter, enveloping me in its warmth. As I brush my teeth, make myself a cup of steaming masala tea and get dressed, I am ready to take on this special day... my day, your day, the day of the Superwoman. It is March 8 and it's time to celebrate International Women's Day.

At my work desk I can't help but thank god for making me a woman in this day and age, where I have the opportunity to be the Mistress of the Universe. What a wonderful time to be a woman. I cast my mind back to some of the women who have been iconic for me and millions of others. Most of them have been game changers. They scaled mountains, all the while ignoring the naysayers who said that these peaks of success didn't even exist.

A young black woman who fought all odds and became the queen of daytime television because she did something which no one else did -- she listened and she empathised. And the more she listened and empathised the more her audiences liked her and she went on to become one of the most influential, richest and most importantly, loved icons of all time -- the incredible Oprah Winfrey who ranks high in the list of inspirational women for me.

Then there is the gorgeous and super-intelligent woman who changed the way online news was written and read. She established the extremely successful and powerful Huffington Post, giving writers the kind of literary freedom they needed to produce great stories. The success of Huff Post would have been impossible without the vision of Arianna Huffington who continues to shine in the online sphere.

Another Grande dame of the online space is Sheryl Sandberg who changed the way women are perceived in Silicon Valley. Her book Lean In highlighted the work paradigms that need to be relooked at for women in the work space.

The lack of space didn't seem to bother another lady of iron, Aung San Suu Kyi, whose house arrest didn't break her will. This changed the democratic set up in her country and made the world sit up and applaud her courage under fire.

Shobhaa De knows a lot about courage under fire too. All her writing life, she has faced fire from critics for her style, her content, her usage of Hinglish in her books. But detractors notwithstanding she always seems to be one step ahead of the curve, be it with her razor-sharp observations on society or her much-emulated personal flair. Sociology has been her forte and she has shaped the lives of so many students. Speaking of learning, I love Professor Nandini Sardesai for her humaneness and being a teacher to us in all aspects of our life.

Humaneness and humility bring to mind another game changer, the National Award-winning director Aruna Raje who broke so many glass ceilings in the film world that the shards are still lying around. She went on to establish herself as one of the great filmmakers of our times with her poignant stories told thorough the eyes of her strongly etched female protagonists.

Of course one of the great protagonists of our times has been Padma Vibhushan Dr. Sonal Mansingh who moves like a deer, with eyes to match, again creating dance forms that were unheard of and earning the Padma Vibhushan for it.

In the eyes of this little superwoman, they are all iconic superwomen who continue to be trailblazers and I salute all of them and all of us women this International Women's Day. Hey, even some men, like my dad Wing Commander Sanwal Shah -- a great feminist -- deserve a special mention on this day.

Read Part 1, 2 and 3 of this series.

Vandana Shah is an award-winning author and her new book "Ex Files" is a bestseller. She has also won the award for best lawyer in India. Share your thoughts with her on

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