Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan in India celebrates women's achievements via IWD awards program

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Around the world, women are doing extraordinary things - but these achievements are often not officially recognized or celebrated.

Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan, headed and founded by His Holiness Ashutosh Maharaj is one of the India's greatest faith based organizations working for social reforms. Its gender equality movement ‘Santulan’ works at grassroots level in more than twelve states in India, with approximately 8,000 women peer educators and 25,000 dedicated women change agents. The organization aims to empower women with much needed self-confidence to fiercely fight any kind of subjugation

The group believes that women have the power to create, nurture and transform - and that women are the engines of the enriching society but woefully, their laudable contribution is often overlooked and this can result in the loss of their self confidence.

For International Women's Day, Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan under its gender equality program Santulan, has been organizing significant awards programs in India over the past 10 years to celebrate the remarkable contributions women make to society. Santulan means balance.

This year women were shortlisted from the states of UP and Haryana in Northern India where the awards programs were held, and then further judged by Santulan, the gender equality program of the organization.

Via the program, Santulan further motivated its awardees to do more for society. They inspired hundreds of female attendees to become role models and they conveyed a strong message that success has nothing to do with gender.

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For International Women’s Day, Santulan endeavored to spiritually awaken societal consciousness to strive for gender balance both in terms of respect, value and leadership. 

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Workshops and performances championing IWD

Alongside the awards program, the group hosted workshops that aligned with the #BalanceforBetter theme in Rohini, Vikaspuri (West Delhi), Chandigarh, Fazilka, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Moga (Punjab), Dibrugarh (Assam) and Bengauru (Karnataka) cities of India. 

Santulan understands that, for a gender balanced society, it is important to change the mindsets of women as well as society. Therefore, Santulan organized a unique theatrical workshop of dance ballet, lecture and skit based on the eye-opening life story of “Amrapali”, a woman who went from being an abandoned and unwanted child to an exceptionally talented dancer, a warrior and finally a spiritually empowered saint.

The dance ballet, “I’m a Woman, is it a Crime?”, showcased the challenges a woman faces when trying to fulfil her dreams. It was both informative and interactive, enabling participants to relate meaningfully to the performance and be engaged. This was an impactful way of bringing the issues discussed closer to home. 

Santulan women diversity

The theatrical workshop showcased the five phases of Amrapali’s life, focusing on Immanuel Kant's concept of nonage, which is the imposed inability to use one's own understanding without another's guidance. Santulan believes that all disadvantaged people including the poor and the sick, experience nonage and sadly, today, so do women. The program therefore emphasized the need for spiritual empowerment that can free women from all her inabilities. 

Emphasizing the need for spiritual empowerment

The group approached its IWD campaign from a unique, meaningful and less-discussed angle: that today women need spiritual empowerment for emancipation. Amrapali experienced educational, social, economic and political empowerment in her life but only managed to attain true freedom after being blessed with spiritual empowerment in the divine refuge of Buddha. Through this, Santulan awakened in women the unexplored possibilities of spiritual empowerment for the formation of an overall gender just society.

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