Engage and speak up

Engage and speak up

A unique, one-day participatory saw celebrity influencers coming together to speak about opportunities for and the support women

Revolving on the theme of #openingdoors, the third edition of 'We The Women' – a one-day participatory, created and curated by Barkha Dutt for Facebook & UN Women. The festival of unfettered freedom brought together a diverse group of exemplary men and women from all walks of life.

The star-studded stage saw people like Sania Mirza, film director and producer Karan Johar, actress Katrina Kaif, designer Sandeep Khosla, cancer survivors Lisa Ray, Sonali Bendre, Tahira Kashyap, actress Alia Bhatt and her sister Shaheen Bhatt.

Sania Mirza spoke on smashing stereotypes adding, "I was given a tag of being rebellious, but I wasn't and this was because I spoke. I feel equality plays a serious issue in every genre even in Bollywood. Women have to face this everyday battle. If you are better-looking women today, people tend to not take you too seriously."

Asha Devi (Nirbhaya's mother) and Seeta Prajapat with Mrunalini Deshmukh (divorce lawyer) had a candid conversation on rape and the trauma they faced fighting for justice. Seema Prajapat spoke on how brutally she has raped and the impact of being lonely when her mom and family decided to leave her.

Now sitting on a wheelchair, she came with confidence to inspire daughters of the nation to live with pride and never give up. Asha Devi (Nirbhaya's mother) said, "Tears will not work, we have to fight harder for justice."

Film-maker Karan Johar spoke about '10 things men must change about Bollywood', an important topic in today's time. Karan Johar expressed, "First thing men need to generally change is 'fake sense of women empowerment', even a gradual change is a change.

A liberating man is a man who understands the power of a woman." "It does not matter if a boy wears pink or plays with a barbie doll. It does not mean that cars are for boys and dolls for girls. It should be the endeavour of parents to change this", he further added.

Katrina Kaif said, "My constant perseverance is to fight and not be seen as an overpowering woman. I have some friends who have genuinely been good listeners, Kabir Khan and Ali Abbas Zafar to name a few. I have changed a lot over time, my personality chooses the roles I do."

Shelley Thakral (Head of Policy Programs for India, South Asia and Central Asia at Facebook) spoke to the powering women in uniform as mothers and wives, DIG Nitu Bhattacharya and DCP Rema Rajeshwari.

Women warriors and cancer survivors Sonali Bendre, Lisa Ray, Tahira Kashyap spoke on their journey and how they have been battling with their illness.

Shaheen and Alia Bhatt were in a candid conversation on how Shaheen has been facing depression and how the family has been supportive. Shaheen Bhatt said, "For me, depression is chronic. There are days when I feel incredible and there are days when I feel I don't want to be here.

I think Alia has always been sensitive towards this, she's the one who's always held me down. Being depressed is very hard but loving someone who is depressed is the hardest."

Alia Bhatt said, "Every cell in my body jumps when I see my sister Shaheen like this not because she is my sister but because she is a good human being. Every moment is a new moment to feel the way you feel."

The festival also honoured men and women who showed excellence in their areas, taking risks, battling the odds and coming their way to success.

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