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How Chicago’s Indian-American Women Invest in Each Other’s Success

Indian-American women in and around the Chicago metropolitan area are now being empowered through a campaign inspired by the #MeToo movement.

The Women’s Empowerment Campaign was founded by Consul General of India Neeta Bhushan along with IT business owner and social entrepreneur Rita Singh, e-commerce business owner Shital Daftari, and cardiologist and real estate developer Dr. Anuja Gupta. The campaign aims to build strong networks and a supportive environment among Indian-American women.

“Chicago needed a strong women’s group to represent the high level of success our community has seen in business, community service, and arts and culture,” Bhushan said. “The Women’s Empowerment group has filled a huge gap and has great potential in Chicago and also nationally.”

The group’s leadership team is composed of top Chicagoland community members, chosen by the founders for their diverse experiences.

Daftari, founder of the affordable sari rental service, Saris and Things, believes empowerment is about helping someone take the initial step forward to live out their dreams while reaching their highest potential.

“It was very important for us to select the right people for our leadership team,” Daftari said. “We handpicked each member from a very long list of qualified individuals who were leaders in their own ways in the community.”

The campaign also recognizes and awards the achievements of women in Chicago. Individuals are acknowledged for their work in business, personal accomplishments, arts and culture, and community service. The awards give notice to the hard work women leaders accomplish in Chicagoland, such as event planning, mentoring, and managing businesses likes restaurants, fashion boutiques, and other stores.

“We are fortunate to have a very vibrant and high-profile Indian community,” Gupta said. “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.”

Other important goals the campaign focuses on include creating an awareness of existing resources, providing a platform for promotions, and supporting worthy causes related to Indian women.

“The Indian women community has gotten to a level where we want [to] make a difference by supporting each other and elevating the status of the whole community,” Gupta said.

“Together we can have a more unified presence and more powerful voice,” Singh said.

The campaign’s mission to provide a hub for networking, support, and recognition is bound to intensify the ripple effect of female empowerment that the initial #MeToo movement began. Though the Women Empowerment Campaign focuses specifically on the Indian-American women of Chicago, it further substantiates the universal message that women are not alone – a community of reassurance exists.

Featured Image by Kevin Dooley on Flickr

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