Women Icons of India is a digital magazine that celebrates and amplifies the voices of inspiring women who have left an indelible mark on India's diverse landscape. This platform serves as a dynamic showcase, capturing the essence of these trailblazers across various fields, from science and arts to business and social activism. Through engaging storytelling and insightful interviews, it aims to spotlight the achievements, challenges, and triumphs of these iconic women.

Women Icons of India organised a power packed Women’s Forum &Awards to celebrate exceptional talent, fostering networks and empowering women in various fields and from all walks of life at WTC Mumbai. This event, which was organised in association with World Trade Center Mumbai, had an insightful panel discussion on cultural shift, promoting inclusivity and paving the way for a future where women's contributions are not only acknowledged but celebrated as fundamental pillars of progress and success.

Thispanel session served as a dynamic forum to delve into key issues and opportunities shaping women's roles in various sectors of society. The event ultimately aimed to empower attendees with knowledge, ideas and connections that drive the advancement of women in their respective fields and contribute to a more inclusive society.

Esteemed dignitaries, adorned with expertise and vision, enriched the panel discussion with a tapestry of invaluable insights. The event was graced by Ms. Rekha Sharma,Hon’ble Chairperson, National Commission for Women as Chief Guest. Ms. Rupa Naik, Executive Director, World Trade Center Mumbai was the guest of honour at the event. Other guests of honour who addressed the event were Ms. Rakhee Lalvani, former Vice President IHCL and founder ofRLA (Rakhee Lalvani and Associates) Communications agency, Ms. Avantika Bahuguna, Business Head, She The People - Seeders Media.

In her remarks, Ms. Sharma mentioned, “I find the prevailing mindset towards women in India remains resistant to change. The deeply ingrained societal attitudes toward women in India continue to pose a formidable challenge to transformative progress."

Speaking on this occasion, Ms. Naik advised women entrepreneurs to participate in national and international trade fairs and engage in fruitful networking with potential buyers to grow their business. She said, “Women entrepreneurs need to participate in international trade delegation and network with prospective buyers in foreign countries. WTC Mumbai organises interactive meetings with 30-40 in-bound trade delegations every year. Most of the foreign business delegations coming to India for exploring new market opportunities have women entrepreneurs as delegates. But very few Indian women participate in out-bound trade delegations. Even though women can connect with new customers on social media, they still need participate in trade delegations to meet their potential clients personally.”

Ms. Naik further added, “WTC Mumbai is willing to support women entrepreneurs aspiring to take their business to the global market by helping them with identifying new markets for their products and services. The recently concluded World Trade Expo received overwhelming response from business delegates and diplomats from 29 countries and it served as a promising platform for women entrepreneurs to explore new market opportunities.

Ms. Naik pointed out, “Our mission is to encourage and empower more women to step into the realm of international trade, unlocking boundless opportunities for growth and success. We aim to pave the way for more women to participate, contribute and lead in this global landscape."

She shared an overview about the M Visvesvaraya Center of Excellence for skill development and invited women experts working in the area of skill development to partner with this Center for imparting vocational training to economically weaker sections of society.

Ms. Naik concluded her remarks by pointing out that women constitute 50% of the world population and they represent the most under-utilised resource of the society. By productively utilising this resource, we can give a major boost to the GDP growth of our economy.”

This panel discussion emerged as a profound source of inspiration. From delving into the challenges, triumphs and the indomitable spirit of women in international trade, navigating the complexities of corporate landscapes and spotlighting their pivotal roles in corporate domains. The discussions also tenderly embraced the diverse and pivotal role of women as mothers, shedding light on their resilience and contributions to the society.

Ms. Lalvanipointed out, “Inclusion and diversity in the corporate world are not just aspirations but necessities. We need proactive measures to ensure every voice is heard, valued, and embraced. Corporate landscapes thrive on diversity. It's time to reimagine strategies, fostering an environment where every individual feels empowered, regardless of gender, race, or background."

Ms. Bahugunaemphasised on the need to recognize the contribution of women in the society. She said, “Mothers are the unsung heroes, often undervalued for their immense contributions and sacrifices in nurturing families. It's time to recognize their unparalleled role and empower them to value their own journey. The journey of motherhood often downplays a woman's self-worth. It's crucial to empower mothers, helping them realize their worth beyond caregiving, appreciating their multifaceted contributions to society."

This Women’s Forum and Awards event orchestrated by Women Icons of India is a ground-breaking initiative transcending the realms of mere recognition, serving as a catalyst for tangible change. It celebrated not just achievements but the spirit of resilience, innovation, and determination ingrained in each woman honoured. The event's vision resonated deeply, igniting conversations that hold the potential to transform societal norms and catalyse progress.

By spotlighting stories that inspire and uplift, this lays the foundation for a more inclusive, equitable India, where every woman's contribution fuels the nation's journey towards greatness.

Ms. Rupali Gujrathi Sharma, Founder & Editor Women Icons of India said, “Women Icons of India isn't just a platform.It's a movement towards a better India, it's a catalyst for positive change, shaping a more inclusive, empowered India."

Ms. Rupa Naik, Executive Director, MVIRDC WTC Mumbai addressing the Women Icons of India forum at WTC Mumbai. Also seen on the dais are (from left to right): Ms. Avantika Bahuguna, Business Head, She The People - Seeders Media, Ms. Rakhee Lalvani, former Vice President - IHCL and founder of RLA (Rakhee Lalvani and Associates) Communications agency, Ms. Rekha Sharma, Hon’ble Chairperson, National Commission for Women

Ms. Rupa Naik, Executive Director, MVIRDC WTC Mumbai (left) being felicitated by Ms. Rupali Gujrathi Sharma, Founder & Editor Women Icons of India at the Women Icons of India forum