International Women’s Day isn’t just a day to celebrate the success of women all around the globe; it is also an occasion for society to revaluate its constructs, making sure that we present fair and equal opportunities to all its women. . On the 5th of March, Steadfast Nutrition conducted a special event, wherein it brought some of the best female sportspersons in India, who also happen to be Steadfast Athletes, under the same roof to discuss the "Challenges Faced by Women Athletes and the Way Forward". The programme took place under the new initiative started by the organisation, Iron Women.
The event drew eminent athletes from a variety of sports, such as football, powerlifting, bodybuilding, and cycling, among others. The list includes Archana Chauhan, World Champion powerlifter, Dalima Chhibber, national defender of the Indian women's football team, Dr Rita Jairath, India's pioneer bodybuilding athlete, Surbhi Jaiswar, bikini athlete and last year's reigning bodybuilding champion, anatomy professor and physique athlete Dr Mridula Saikia, and others.
Problems that Indian female athletes face on their path to reaching their true potential were discussed with the goal of finding a solution. The panelists explicitly spoke of their journey as an example of how to cross the hurdles that society may present to aspiring female athletes, wage disparities between male and female athletes, the difficulties of being a mother athlete, patriarchy in sports, social constructivism, a lack of support, and physical challenges were among the key issues raised.
Asked to guide the struggling female athletes, Dr Rita Jairath said, "The only thing that our women lack is hope. Girls should stay determined and never feel afraid of taking a new step. Eventually, everything will fall into place. Focusing more on the challenges and less on the target will do no good. Instead, it will become a challenge in itself to deal with. " She further guided the athletes to be practical and monetise their profession, as ultimately they're the ones who have got to fight their battle. Dr Jairath also revealed her struggle with patriarchy. “When I started out, muscular women were something to be laughed at. I was asked to dress in a certain way while judging an event,” Rita Jairath said.
Dalima Chhibber, the Indian women's team's champion player, tried to speak of her struggles in order to give a message to the struggling female athletes. She said, "Initially, when I decided to become a footballer, my decision was criticised. People tried to demotivate me, asking me to consider other sports, since football isn't much appreciated in our country and not many girls participate in it. I was also asked to give up my dream of becoming an athlete and do what ordinary women do. People kept on challenging my decision, but it was my family that supported me, and I was finally able to prove everyone wrong. She further added, "Change comes when you believe in yourself. As we grow, people change. They realise they're wrong and we deserve to be treated better. "
Champion figure athlete, Apurva Rawat, who also trains school-going athletes, expressed her contentment with the new CBSE rules where 40-45 minutes are given to sports each day. She said it would help our girls get stronger and encourage them to freely express their will to participate in sporting activities.
Apart from the panel discussion, the Iron Women initiative by Steadfast Nutrition had many other events. One such was a talk by a nutrition expert on women’s essential nutrient needs, measures to achieve an iron-clad plan for women’s health, and the deficiency of iron in the majority of the Indian population, particularly women.
Showing its support for the Indian government's "Anaemia Free India" initiative, the company also launched a powerful supplement called "Iron" to meet the iron needs of Indian women.
The founder of the organisation, Mr Aman Puri, said, " International Women’s Day is as big as any other occasion for the organisation. We firmly believe in providing equal opportunities to the women of our country. Our Iron Woman campaign isn’t just about honouring the success of steadfast athletes, but it is a way for us to present the story of our champions as an example in front of all aspiring female athletes.”