Vodafone commits to the cause of women empowerment, releases book ‘Women of Pure Wonder’


Over the last couple of years in India, crimes committed against women and the rising frequency of incidents have come across as a jolt to a sleeping nation. Albeit, women have been living in fear and oppression for years, guess when push comes to shove you cannot help but take notice.

The Delhi gang rape propagated protestant groups across the country, the media was frenzied, and laws were favourably rehashed to safeguard women’s rights. While on one hand we were the subject of global shame, on the other, the nation came together as an anomalous unanimous voice for female empowerment.

Sadly in India just when you think things are beginning to look up, you realize you may have spoken a little too soon. The recent Tehelka case blew up in our faces exposing the harsh reality that crimes against women are not just restricted to certain societal stratas but are just as commonplace amongst the literate, the wealthy, and in this case, the apparent custodians. The voice that had nearly faded rose again. This incident gave it teeth. But is this the last straw? Or does our patience have more give to it? The voice is now a crying shriek. But is it being acknowledged or falling upon deaf ears? Well don’t know about the others but it definitely has caught Vodafone’s attention.

The Vodafone Foundation has chosen women’s empowerment as a key area of focus in India. The idea is to highlight that when you educate, empower or support a woman in any ecosystem to emerge victorious, you impact her entire family, her immediate ecosystem in the community, which in turn brings in a strong multiplier effect on the overall social and economic development of the entire country. In a modest attempt to achieve this goal, The Vodafone Foundation on 4 December 2013 at ITC Maurya Hotel, New Delhi, released ‘Women of Pure Wonder’, a book that chronicles the struggle, survival and ultimate success of sixty extraordinary women. Blending an engaging mix of some well-known and some as yet unheard tales, this book narrates the extraordinary deeds of real women who have courageously braved all social, economic and familial odds to reach the pinnacle of success in their chosen field of work, thereby setting a shining example for others to follow.

The event organized by Percept India was hosted by emcee Shivani Pasrich and saw in its attendance close to 150 proponents . A panel of discussion consisting of Kajol Devgan (actress), Malvika Rajkotia (Lawyer), Laxmi (acid attack victim), Suhel Seth (ad-man), Priya Dutt (Member of Parliament) and Vittorio Colao, CEO, Vodafone Group Plc moderated by Vikram Chandra of NDTV threw light on some of the issues faced by a woman in India and the way towards progression.

On a different note, it was admirable to see Suhel Seth’s brazen participation at the venue. Suhel, who has been in a fierce squabble with former associate ITC for over half a decade, had been sued by ITC due to his defamatory tweets against the group ever since they terminated his contract in 2007.

Speaking on the occasion of the book release, Vittorio Colao, CEO, Vodafone Group Plc. said, “At Vodafone, we firmly believe that what is good for the society is also good for business. Women empowerment is a key theme for us across all the markets we operate in and I am proud of the way the Vodafone Foundation in India has set an example for our other markets to follow. This book is unique as it takes the story of these sixty women to inspire a much larger audience. This is but a small token of our admiration and respect for the ladies who have braved all odds to exemplify what every woman is capable of.”

Marten Pieters, CEO & MD, Vodafone India, believes that this is one of the many steps which Vodafone India will embark on. He specifically referred to the multiple initiatives that Vodafone India is taking,“We are working in the areas of education, empowerment and the environment as part of our ‘Vodafone Cares’ initiative. Whatever meaningful we can do to facilitate a better quality of life for India’s millions, especially women, will be a step in the right direction. We are committed to playing our role as a responsible corporate citizen and contribute to the overall development of the country.”

Rohit Adya, External Affairs Director, Vodafone India added, “It is an honour for us to be associated with such outstanding, amazing women. We will share their stories on different platforms to provide inspiration to thousands of other women across the country.”

Madhu Sirohi, Head, Vodafone Foundation in India said, “Proceeds from the sale of the Women of Pure Wonder book will be used to empower girl children through the Naz Foundation. It will be our continued endeavour to provide as much support as possible to the cause of women empowerment through our initiatives and programmes.”

The ‘Women of Pure Wonder’ has been published by Roli Books and will be retailed through leading book stores across the country.

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