Women’s Empowerment

Neeta Bushan (second from left) pictured with the Indian American founders of the Chicago Women’s Empowerment Campaign, Anuja Gupta (left), Rita Singh (second from right) and Shital Daftari. (photo provided)

Consul General of India Neeta Bhushan flagged off the media launch of the Women’s Empowerment Campaign Dec. 9 at the Meadows Club in Rolling Meadows, Ill. The initiative is a collaboration between Bhushan, Ritan Singh, Shital Daftari and Anuja Gupta, who wanted to “form a group that showcase the power of Indian women in Chicago and to do something to make a positive impact in our community.” 

“It was a great idea of the founders to start a women’s empowerment group. It was much-needed in Chicago and will go a long way in enriching the nature and quality of women contributions to society in multiple ways,” said Bhushan. “Chicago needed a strong women’s group to represent the high-level of success our community has seen in business, community service, arts and culture. The Women’s Empowerment Group has filled a huge gap and has great potential in Chicago and beyond,” she added.

“The philosophy behind the launching of the Women’s Empowerment Group is to build a powerful community of support for Indian women in Chicagoland through this platform,” explained Indian American co-founders Singh, Daftari and Gupta. “The group plans to celebrate Women’s Day annually as a gala event. The Women’s Empowerment Campaign is designed to create the largest networking and empowerment platform for Indian women in Chicagoland,” they added.

“There are many existing women’s groups which are independently doing important work. We wanted to form a bigger networking platform to connect the existing groups with everyone who wanted to engage in forming a more powerful community of support,” said Daftari.

“I wanted to make a meaningful difference in the lives of Indian community. The mission of the group is to create the largest networking and empowerment platform for Indian women in Chicagoland. Together we can have a more unified presence and more powerful voice,” Singh said.

The leadership team is made up of Chicago community leaders, including Uma Katiki, president of the Chicago Andhra Association; Vidya Joshi, vice-president of Maharashtra Mandal Chicago and secretary of Bruhan Maharashtra Mandal; and Chandini Duvuuri, who founded an NGO for battered women.

In addition to the leadership team, the group also works with community partners, including many women who are active in community service.

The advisory board members include Asha Oroskar, founder and CEO of Orochem Labs; Smita Shah, owner of Direct Floors; Anisha Shah, owner of Shree Builders and Arlington Rentals, and Ms. Madhoolica, former president of the Indian American Heritage Museum. 

The media launch also featured an inspiring performance by Ameya Dance Academy, the choreography of which reflected themes of women’s empowerment. 

The Chicagoland community has enthusiastically welcomed the Women’s Empowerment Campaign and many women have expressed interest in joining the group. Organizers have also received calls from Indian women outside of the Chicagoland area who hope to join. Likewise, women leaders from the Indian communities in Florida and New Jersey have expressed interest in establishing sister organizations. More information can be found on the Chicago Women’s Empowerment Facebook page, on Twitter @ChicagoWEC, or at www.ChicagoWE.com.

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