Faye D'Souza to Zoya Akhtar, meet 7 iconic women teaching us to shape our world
“When I work, I always make sure to win or try again”
What’s the most powerful weapon a woman has? You might think of perfectly manicured nails that could swipe at an attacker, or 6-inch stiletto heels that can crush toes, and the competition. But in truth, it’s our voice, one that stands up for what we believe in and refuses to back down from the truth. In the sixth edition of Levi’s #IShapeMyWorld initiative, the brand introduces us to 7 women who know exactly how to wield their voice to affect change, despite all odds.
These risk-taking, game-changing, rule-breaking women come from different backgrounds and communities, but Levi’s chose them because they are challenging what society expects from them, and shaping the world on their own terms.
Levi’s introduces 7 iconic women who embody the #IShapeMyWorld philosophy
Journalist Faye D’Souza quit her high-paying job at a top news channel to go solo, creating a model that’s never been done before in India. She’s the voice of reason that we’ve all come to rely on for our daily news updates. Like a true icon, she downplays her groundbreaking work with a simple “I want to be remembered as one of the good ones, someone who tried to do the right thing.”
With her vocal stylings and larger-than-life presence, Indian-American rapper Raja Kumari teaches us to be the brightest spark in the room. “You can’t change yourself to fit in,” she reminds us. “Otherwise the world will never know who you truly are.”
When it comes to rewriting the rules of the game, Zoya Akhtar is an old hand. The genius filmmaker behind Gully Boy and Made In Heaven knows she started on “a back foot because of her gender” in a male-dominated industry, but her vision is incontestable. “Your perspective, your gaze is unique, so just be confident about it,” she insists.
Both comedian Sumukhi Suresh and activist Trisha Shetty gracefully carry the burden of amplifying others’ voices through their own. While Suresh uses humour to address gender equality, Shetty does so through SheSays, a non-profit that empowers the country’s women by providing education, legal and medical as well as psychological support. “I try and speak up every chance I get, because the cost of silence is deafening,” she says.
Silence is something Iti Rawat knows all too well. The firebrand launched the Red Dot Campaign during the lockdown on hearing stories of women being abused at home. This crusade has seen her rescue 100 women and fight for their financial independence.
Rounding out this league of extraordinary women is lawyer Seema Samridhi. You may know her through her work on the headline-grabbing Nirbhaya case, and more recently, the Hathras case. Unflappable even when the odds are stacked against her, Samridhi gives us our mantra for 2021: “When I work, I always make sure that either I win, or I try again.”
In 2021, the year of optimism, let these women and their never-back-down spirit inspire you. After all, #IShapeMyWorld.