Journey to celebrate role of women


Women are becoming an increasingly powerful force in Indian business, and are a much more visible presence in the corporate world there than in other parts of Asia.

Finance minister P Chidambaram announced in the budget last month that India’s first all-women public sector bank will open soon in a move to foster entrepreneurship among women. Recognising this, the Vodafone Foundation is backing two Irishwomen – Laura Turkington from Belfast and Carina Deegan from Portlaoise – as they embark on a nine-day rickshaw journey from Delhi to Mumbai, travelling more than 1,500km over five states.

Engaging content

“It started out as a small idea and gathered momentum, ” said Turkington, who manages Vodafone’s Indian foundation. “Leveraging Vodafone’s extensive network in India, women across the country can send us a free SMS to tell us what makes them proud to be a woman. We will feature this on the website along with a whole lot of more interesting, and engaging content.”

Their driver will be Sunita Chaudhary, Delhi’s first woman auto rickshaw driver,who told the Hindu newspaper: “I am proud to be a woman, as a woman brings life to this world. A woman is powerful, if she chooses to be. She has many facets to her personality – she can be a goddess and can be a destroyer.”

The project starts next Saturday and is aimed at raising funds for three NGOs – Apne Aap Women’s Collective (AAWC), Breakthrough and Corp India.

The route takes them through Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra, arriving in Mumbai on March 18th. The programmes will range from self defence classes to setting up new enterprises, and for every donation made, the Vodafone Foundation will also make a contribution. The project will be streamed onto the dedicated website