On 24 August 2021, Bharat Soka Gakkai (BSG) organized a webinar to mark the 70th anniversary of the Soka Gakkai women’s group. The event aimed to highlight stories of empowered women working to create a better world by 2030. It was attended by nearly 800 people. Panelists included Vinita Bali, Independent Director, Strategy Adviser and former CEO of Britannia Industries, Mirian Vilela, Executive Director of Earth Charter International, Safeena Husain, Founder and Executive Director of Educate Girls, and actress Tillotama Shome. All shared their unique life experiences, converging on the need to create a more egalitarian social structure and a culture of respect for life based on the spirit of equality.
Bali, who was among 27 global leaders appointed by the UN (from 2012 to 2016) to help improve maternal and child health as part of its Scaling Up Nutrition Movement, asked the men in the audience to support the women in their immediate environment and stand by them, stating: “If all the men take the responsibility to change five more men, we can bring a concrete change.”
Vilela highlighted the importance of being caring and empathetic leaders. She also shared that women have a spiritual sensibility that allows them to view things from many perspectives.
Under Husain’s leadership, since Educate Girls’ inception in 2007, the NGO has enrolled over 750,000 girls in school and improved the learning outcomes for more than 1.3 million children in India. She shared the importance of tackling mindsets and commented, “If all of us just changed that little switch in our brain and saw women for their full humanity we will be able to transform the world”.
Shome stated that being a peacemaker doesn’t mean that one doesn’t say “no,” and commented that sisterhoods are very powerful ecosystems.
The webinar sought to celebrate the struggles and victories of women who have rewritten their own destiny and that of others.