At women’s conclave, victors advice never to fear boys

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Three women achievers from the state from different walks of life shared their stories of success and struggle at the Women Leadership Conclave 2019 event organised by CII’s Indian Women Network to encourage women leadership.

Post entering the motorsport industry, Erda soon realised that it was not only male-dominated but also most people don’t appreciate woman taking part in it. She recalled how she got bullied and how her competitors tried to scare her off. “I learned not to fear the boys, because in the end when you put the helmet on, you are just another sportsperson and even the car you drive does not care for your gender,” said Erda.

Mira Erda, who won the National Go Karting at the tender age of 12 said, she took to the motorsport after her father asked if she would like to drive a car. “Who would have said no to that,” exclaimed Erda.

The teen who became the first National Rookie Champion of India was also the first girl from the country to drive the Formula 4 BMW car, which is the highest version of the motorsport in India.Meanwhile, a seven-time national triathlon champion Pooja Chaurishi also recalled her journey that began with swimming. She said, “When I first participated in a triathlon, I didn’t even have my own bike. I remember the organisers arranged a bike of a labourer. I had never participated in such an event before, however, I went to win it.”

Explaining how an accident put her out of action, Chaurishi then decided to turn into a triathlon coach. Chaurishi, who also has won India’s fastest half ironman triathlon said, “With her victory, she broke many myths, including the belief that Gujaratis hardly excel in sports.”

On the other hand, Usha Vasava, an award-winning tribal farmer, whose efforts helped over 500 women get land titles to their land said, said while she has been recognised for her many other works, she considers closing down a liquor shop in her home town as one of her major achievements.

“When I was married at the age of 17, didn’t realise that my in-laws manufactured hooch. But as I began to be associated with self-help groups and gather women, faced stiffest resistance from family, who did not approve of women moving out of their house,” said Vasava.