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From Sania to Saina: Rise of Indian women in sports

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By Ila Garg

Since ancient times, sports has been an integral part of Indian history. We have some legendary sportsmen like Milkha Singh, Kapil Dev, Dhyanchand, etc. ruling the charts. Today, women are also becoming the face of Indian sports. Women sportspersons these days are taking Indian sports to a new height. Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal have gradually emerged as popular youth icons and are creating ripples in the stagnant ocean! NewsGram takes a look at their journey:

Sania MirzaSania Mirza took India tennis to the global level. In the days when the patriarchal society of India was reveling in the notion that women cannot excel in sports, a determined Mirza changed the course of Tennis. Born on 15th November 1986, she started playing tennis at an early age of six. She found her first coach in her father Imran who diligently took her talent forward and carved it well so that she could be an inspiration for others like her.

She started taking part in international tournaments from the year 1999 and soon became a pro at the game. Her strength became evident from her very first game. In 2003, she managed to enter the list of world’s top 100 tennis players. She is the youngest Indian player to win the Grand Slam title too, thus creating a stir amongst the masses.

The ace player Sania is currently ranked world number one in the women’s doubles (she retired from singles recently). Now, she is all set to receive Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, the highest Indian honour in the field of sports. It is indeed a big achievement for the star tennis player as she is the second tennis player after Leander Paes to be recommended for this award. NewsGram congratulates her for being an inspiration to many people around the world and opening new doors for the tennis aspirants.

Saina Nehwal has proved her mettle as a promising Indian female Badminton player and continues to reach heights. Like Sania Mirza aroused the interest of the youths to pursue the game of tennis, she is opening a whole new arena for them to follow.Saina Nehwal

She was born on 17th March 1990 with the game instilled in her genes as both her parents, Dr. Harvir Singh and Usha Rani were former State Badminton Champions. Her training started at the age of eight and since then the badminton racket has been her companion. In the year 2003, she made her presence felt when she won the Junior Czech Open Tournament.

Subsequently in 2004, she became the National Junior Champion and in 2005, she won the title again. This shows her dedication towards the game. In 2006, she won the bronze medal at the Commonwealth games thus creating a benchmark for herself. From small steps, she soon took leaps as she won the Superseries Title in 2009.

She has been decorated with awards like Arjuna Award (2009), Padma Shri Award (2010) and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award (2010). Her zeal has motivated many others to follow her path.

Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal

From Sania Mania to Saina Style, Indian women have been rising in the field of sports and overcoming all hurdles. NewsGram feels that more and more women should come forward and take sports as career. Only required tools are diligence, hard work, and passion.

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Top Hollywood women unveiled a sexual harassment initiative

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Top Hollywood women unveiled a sexual harassment initiative
A combination photo shows some of the actresses who have made allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein. Listed in alphabetical order, top row from left, Asia Argento, Rosanna Arquette, Jessica Barth, Cara Delevingne, Romola Garai, Judith Godreche, Heather Graham, Angelina Jolie. VOA

USA, Jan 1, 2018: More than 300 top women in Hollywood — from Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence to Emma Thompson and Cate Blanchett — unveiled an initiative Monday to tackle pervasive sexual harassment in workplaces, calling special attention to their “sisters” in less than glamorous blue-collar jobs.

The initiative, dubbed Time’s Up, caps a year in which the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct scandal touched off a deluge of allegations that brought down powerful men in entertainment, politics and the media, prompting companies, government agencies and even the U.S. federal court system to re-examine harassment policies.

But in an open letter printed in The New York Times, the new initiative lends the star power of its A-list members to the cause of women in less prominent fields, urging support and respect for farm workers and others whose humble positions leave them vulnerable and voiceless.

“We fervently urge the media covering the disclosures by people in Hollywood to spend equal time on the myriad experiences of individuals working in less glamorized and valorized trades,” the group says in its full-page ad.

“To every woman employed in agriculture who has had to fend off unwanted sexual advances from her boss, every housekeeper who has tried to escape an assaultive guest, every janitor trapped nightly in a building with a predatory supervisor, every waitress grabbed by a customer and expected to take it with a smile … we stand with you. We support you.”

$15 million goal

Last month, the head of Ford Motor Company apologized to employees at two factories in Chicago and promised changes, after a scathing expose by the Timesdetailed pervasive harassment and mistreatment of women at the plants dating back to the 1990s. It was one of the first major media investigations into sexual harassment in blue-collar workplaces.

Among the specific steps it announced, Time’s Up has established a legal defense fund that, in just 12 days, has raised $13.4 million toward a $15 million goal aimed at providing legal aid for women and men who were sexually harassed, assaulted or abused in the workplace.

It has vowed to push for legislation to strengthen laws on workplace harassment and discrimination.

The group insists that more women must be brought into positions of power and leadership, while every woman should have equal benefits, opportunities, pay and representation.

As for Hollywood, it wants “swift and effective change to make the entertainment industry a safe and equitable place for everyone.”

And it called on women to wear black at Sunday’s Golden Globes as a statement against gender and racial inequality, and to raise awareness about the group’s efforts.

‘Dear Sisters’ 

The open letter in the Times, which also appears in the Spanish-language La Opinion, opens with the words “Dear Sisters” in large, bold type, and closes with the words “in solidarity,” followed by the names of the 300 women.

Several of Weinstein’s accusers signed the open letter. They include Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Beckinsale, as well as Salma Hayek, whose lengthy account of mistreatment by Weinstein — “my monster,” she called him — was widely circulated on social media after appearing last month in The New York Times.

Weinstein has denied some of the allegations, including Hayek’s assertion that he pressured her to do a nude sex scene in one movie.

Other prominent women lending their names to the Time’s Up cause are actresses Natalie Portman, America Ferrera, Amy Schumer, Halle Berry, Julianne Moore, Keira Knightley, Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Susan Sarandon, Uma Thurman and Viola Davis; producer Shonda Rhimes; Universal Pictures chair Donna Langley; feminist activist Gloria Steinem; lawyer and ex-Michelle Obama chief of staff Tina Tchen and Nike Foundation co-chair Maria Eitel. (VOA)