The idea of a woman having a career, being independent and living on her own terms, to explore herself professionally and personally and to push her boundaries is a very contemporary notion in India. As a society at large, we often compare growth and evolution by the success stories of pioneers. Here’s a list of 13 women who are part of a new India that is being formed, an India on the path to a change that starts in the mind and in the home. These are women who have broken stereotypes and pushed the boundaries of gender and occupation as a way of life.
Cara is a writer and wildlife conservationist. She works behind the scenes on innumerable campaigns and projects for the Sanctuary Nature Foundation. Cara tells stories about Nature and spends as much time as possible exploring India's wilds. Her passion for the campaigns she works on is evident in every part of her life, from being active on social media to driving change on the streets. IG: @carapiranha
Gia’s artistic practice ranges between live performance, performance staged for the camera and filmmaking. Movement and Dance forms the base of her artistic intuitions and impulses. Gia is currently keen on exploring performance and technology through each other - by moving away from storytelling tropes and experiencing reality through her own mindful subjectivity. IG: @gia_dhadak
Mali is the alias of singer songwriter and composer, Maalavika Manoj. She has performed extensively at festivals and venues across India and is currently in the process of releasing a full length album titled ‘Caution to the Wind’. Mali likes to make bold statements through her songs, writing about a variety of topics ranging from her grandfather’s influence on her musical journey to dangerous people in the music industry. Her recent single ‘Age of Limbo’ is accompanied by a music video featuring crowd sourced footage of the lockdown from all over the world. IG: @maalavikamanoj
Priyanka is an Indian actress active in films and on stage, working globally and interacting with individuals making the new world map. She is best known for her role in the award-winning films Gangor and Lion among others. She has made significant work in India and will always do so to make sure she’s part of a plethora of talent that’s here. Right now she’s waiting, like the rest of the world, to start work on projects which are on hold. One of them is a fantasy series called ‘The wheel of time’ with Amazon. IG: @priyankabose20
Shweta is a stylist, fashion designer and artist living in Mumbai. She curates her life in the same style as her wardrobe and this is evident in the work she creates as a stylist as well as how she decorates her home. Little details in every nook and corner of her home show memories of hers and of others, lives well lived and made nostalgic in paintings and little knick-knacks. Her style is authentic to her and is a window into her mind and mood. IG: @shwetabetty
Radha is a creative director and graphic designer based in Chennai, India. Her artistic interests move easily between art, fashion and design. Alongside her work with fashion brands, she works as a visual artist and Illustrator using a range of media including photomontage, drawing, words, images and video. Driven by her curiosity about other realities; time and space, she challenges her perceptions of identity and nature by transforming images into a new, surreal context. She has set up her own creative design studio which specialises in building visual language. IG: @radha.rathi.studio
Athiya is a humanitarian working for holistic rural development, focusing primarily on the education of children and women employment. A writer, artist and traveller who now uses these skills for humanitarian purposes, she believes that the restructuring of our global community happens when the simplest lives are enhanced and transformed. Athiya along with her father founded ACWERK, a free kindergarten in rural Salem. IG: @athiyac
Ekta is a stylist as well as design and creative consultant with over 20 years of experience. Leaning towards classical and contemporary designs based in Indian handmade arts and crafts, Ekta understands the resource and wastage footprint of fashion in particular and design at large and explores shifts and dialogues around changes in design thinking - be it conscious consumerism, cleaner materials or processes and human rights in fashion business. IG: @eksters
Anjani is a healer, jewellery maker and designer. Appreciation of the universe and life through self discovery forms the base of her practise. She uses her healing to create meditative experiences as well as to create bespoke jewellery. She does it with unconditional love and guidance to motivate people to always strive to be their best. IG: @anjani.krish
Manasa is a human rights advocate working with youth and diverse stakeholders that govern their lives to advance young people's health, wellbeing and Rights. She works at UNICEF as an adolescent development specialist. She also serves on the reference group of Family Planning 2020. IG: @maansadevi
Bharathy has worked 19 years in child protection, gender, women & violence, HIV/AIDS and WASH (Water Sanitation & Hygiene). She is the founder of KSHAMATA, a trust that works with women and adolescent girls in vulnerable and exploitative situations including trafficked backgrounds. Kshamata's aim is to enable women to live confident, successful lives; with a clear sense of positive identity and self-worth. IG: @bharathytahiliani
Toshada is a performer, model and digital media consultant who likes to attempt all things related to Visual Arts. She stands out in the Indian fashion industry for her unconventional looks, innate style and petite size. She spends her free time with Thea, her 6 year old fur baby and watching cheesy horror films. IG: @toshadaa
Aishwarya is a journalist, editor and slacktivist. She rants with fair regularity on social media about gender, fashion, the media and all the unfairness in the world. Her point of view is a brutal, honest and hilarious account of the times we live in. IG: @otherwarya
Photography & art direction by Pretika Menon
Pretika is a photographer and art director based in Mumbai, India. Brought up in small town Chennai in a conservative environment, Pretika found a connection to herself and the world through her art. She realised the need to talk about social issues in her work. Her photo stories cover topics from body issues and skin colour, LGBTQ+ and women’s liberation.