JKYog Women's Day Awards Conclave: World Renowned Speakers, Panel on Gender Equality



The JKYog Global International Women's Day Awards Conclave 2021 on Mar 27, 2021 recognizes and features inspiring talks by trailblazing women in STEM, Social Work, Business and Environmental Causes. Reputable honorees include Ms. Sindhutai Sapkal "*Mother of Orphans*", and Dr. Swati Mohan, Guidance Control and Operations Lead for the NASA Mars 2020 Mission - Perseverance Rover. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi who supported the Chicago Women's March will speak at the event set to be broadcast via the JKYog Worldwide headquarters, Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas virtually at radhakrishnatemple.net/IWDA. Swami Mukundananda, JKYog Founder, global spiritual icon and bestselling author will deliver a keynote. A special panel discussion on gender equality with interactive QnA featuring Swami Mukundananda, Dr. Swati Mohan, Ayurveda authority and global Ayushakti group Founder Dr. Smita Naram (Long term Achievement in Business Leadership Awardee), Dr. Medha Tadpatrikar (Long-term Achievement in Environmental Leadership) is one of the highlights of the event.
*JKYog Global IWD Awards Conclave 2021*

*Purpose of the Event*

The theme for International Women's Day 2021 is *#ChooseToChallenge* which states, "A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change." Women and men are being encouraged to challenge gender inequality in all its forms such as pay inequality, inflexible parental leave policies, unconscious bias, harmful stereotypes etc. Gender equality is also one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals put forth by the United Nations to be achieved by 2030.

Highlighting the importance of gender equality, *Swami Mukundananda* said, "If we wish to create a better world for all of us, we must ensure that women get the respect, the freedom, the rights that they truly deserve."

JKYog is organizing this* free family event* to raise awareness of this need, to celebrate the accomplishments of women in male dominated fields and thereby help in fostering a more gender equal, inclusive world by recognizing their accomplishments. Previously an International Women's Day event had been organized on the 8^th of March 2021 featuring prominent speakers providing women with tools to advance in their careers, take control of their finances and fulfill their unique potential.

"The backgrounds of the global awardees this year are quite inspiring and highlight the unique qualities women possess that can transform communities. JKYog is committed to encouraging and supporting women to reach for the stars in service to the community - there is nothing a woman cannot do if she sets her mind to it," said *JKYog President Shreya Bhat*.

A shining case in point is Dr. Medha Tadpatrikar.

*Power of Compassion - Dr. Medha Tadpatrikar*

She has diverse qualifications - a PhD in Branding, an MBA from Nottingham University, LLB from Pune University and various diplomas in subjects ranging from psychology to forensic science, journalism and IPR. But Medha Tadpatrikar's true calling lay in saving the planet.

A visit to a wildlife sanctuary where she saw a deer die from plastic consumption ignited Medhas compassionate desire to save the world from the perils of plastic waste.

In a TED talk she states, "In the last 40 years we have used more than 8000 Billion Metric tons of plastic which has become waste. Out of that 80% is in our landfills or our seas. Plastic releases harmful chemicals that can cause cancer, miscarriages, and respiratory problems. All of us must look at plastic differently, we have to look at waste differently…The question is how Thermocatalytic depolymerization reverses the plastic making process." Her innovative machine captures both gas and fuel outputs that can be used for other purposes such as laying roads, thus adding the fourth R of Recovery to the "*Reduce, Reuse, Recycle*" paradigm. Along with business partner Shirish Phadtare, she is the Founder Innovator of Rudra Environmental Solutions that runs plants in Maharashtra transforming waste plastic into useable fuel that is eco friendly and cheaper to use than regular fuel. Villagers use it in tractors, to cook food and to power generators!

Through her efforts with Keshav Sita Memorial Trust, she raised awareness of waste plastic segregation at source. More than 200 metric tons of waste plastic have been collected from 30000 homes through her endeavors. Notably she won the Economics Times 2017 Award for waste Management.

"If we can segregate waste at source, it becomes easy for people like me to do some processing on it. Plastic is not the problem; the problem is us. We can still save the planet if we change our habits."

*Fostering Sustainable Practices - Dr. Subhashrer G.R. *

Dr. Subashree G. R. (Environmental Leadership Award 2021) has two patents to her name and has been committed to spreading awareness about sustainability practices and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in her role as the Volunteer Head of the Institution of Green Engineers (IGEN) and the IGEN Nobel Laureate Lecture Series. Her efforts have helped promote the SDG goals in over 15 countries worldwide and she was specially recognized by the International Forum for Sustainability for her contributions.

*Healing Touch - Dr. Smita Naram*

Belonging to a family of Ayurvedic doctors, Dr. Smita Naram (Long-Term Achievement Award in Business Leadership) passionately believes in the power of Ayurveda and never took any allopathic medicines. As a child she suffered from stomachache and was recommended to go through immediate surgery. However, a relatives simple Ayurvedic concoction cured her completely. This inspired her to help people live fulfilling lives through the ancient science of Ayurveda and she has established herself as a successful entrepreneur internationally. Today her organization Ayushakti has been offering transformative Ayurvedic services globally for 33 years. Over 1.5 Million people globally have found relief from chronic health conditions through Ayushakti treatments.

She has also been instrumental in establishing scientific proof of the success of Ayurvedic methods and has published over 20+ research papers in peer reviewed international journals on treatment of chronic health conditions like joints, arthritis, psoriasis, depression, stress anxiety, asthma, allergies, immune disorders, and genetic problems.

*Turning Negatives into Positives - Ms. Reona Berry*

Ms. Reona Berry, another awardee, (Long-Term Achievement for Social Leadership), is a two-time breast cancer survivor and the founder of the African American Breast Cancer Alliance (AABCA). Ms. Berry used her own personal struggles with the disease to spread hope, information, awareness and reduce the negative effects breast cancer has on African American/Black women, families, and communities. She is one of the strongest advocates in Minnesota in the fight against breast cancer and her organization provides support and hope to both men and women.

In an interview with the Minnesota Spokesman Recorder (MSR), Reona shared her story, where she stated that what she thought was initially a rash, progressed to a painful lump and turned out to be cancer.

"We wanted to educate the African American community about breast cancer and provide support to women and families. Through collaborations with YWCA and the American Cancer Society, I learned more about breast cancer. I joined the National Black Leadership Initiative on Cancer and made presentations whenever asked. AABCA created our first brochure, Being There! and it was a critical success. Sometimes from a negative event come many positive, rewarding and ongoing life episodes." As one friend has said, "We are a phoenix, rising out of the ashes!" Oh yes!" she mentions in the MSR interview.

*Giving a Voice to the Voiceless - Dr. Vedavati Ravindra Jogi*

Dr. Vedavati Ravindra Jogi (Social Leadership Award 2021) is an award-winning media professional who for over 35 years has used innovative video and radio models to uplift thousands of underprivileged children and women, promote establishment of fast-track courts for crimes against women and helped in tackling the root causes of crime.

"In India, mainstream mass media, due to their market driven content have proven inadequate for empowering the community at grassroot level while, the vast potential of '*Community media*' which gives '*Voice to the Voiceless'*, has remained largely untapped. Therefore, I developed two innovative models of participatory media, one for the education of Socio-economically marginalized children (Video medium) and another for the education of socially shunned children (Radio medium)," she explains.

Under her initiative, 67 students produced videos on important concepts from their science text books. They took charge of scripting, camera work, editing etc. These videos were circulated among students from other 31 high schools in Mulashi, Pune. More than 2000 students who viewed these videos gained confidence to learn the concepts taught in the textbooks due to watching their peers from similar backgrounds on video. The video creators themselves improved their communication, team coordination, cognitive and linguistic skills during the production process. Vedavati's award winning radio model Bhannat Shala (Wonderful School) creates community radio programs to educate children on topics of gender equality and crimes against women. It has positively impacted over 6 lakh school children and sensitized over 3000 juvenile inmates about the importance of the dignity of women.

*Desire to Serve - Ms. Divya Sharma*

Divya Sharma (Youth Social Leadership Award 2021), a high school student in Canada recently received the solidarity award from the United Nations for delivering care packages to essential workers across, Canada. According to CTV News, "The UN Sustainable Development Goals Actions Campaign handed out the honour to the top 50 most-warming and impactful acts of humanity that have improved the lives of others, inspired resilience, and lifted hopes in the ongoing global health crisis."

However, this is just one of Divya's many endeavors to serve her community over the years. She has volunteered for over 800 hours with a host of nonprofits and received Manitoba Legislative Assembly Recognition.

"[I will] hopefully work for the UN someday because they're global leaders and they have the power and say to change the world," said *Sharma*, according to the CTV News.

Through the process of honoring women from diverse communities and backgrounds globally, JKYog is also underscoring the need to respect women and their contributions towards fostering a better world.

Swami Mukundananda sums it up, "As the world moves ahead, and the currency of respect becomes the inner qualities, women will not only achieve parity with men but forge even further ahead."

*For more information about this event*, and to submit questions for the panel please visit www.radhakrishnatemple.net/IWDA.

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