Ashok Kumar/OneWorld South Asia
Aishwarya Rajinikanth Dhanush, a noted film director and daughter of Indian superstar Rajnikanth has been appointed UN Women's advocate for gender equality and women's empowerment in India.
United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri on August 29 announced Aishwarya’s appointment as UN Women’s Advocate for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in India.
Classical dancer and writer Aishwarya will mobilise people towards UN Women’s core messages of gender parity and women’s empowerment across India. UN Women is striving to close the gender gap and achieve a more equal world – a Planet 50-50 – by the year 2030. SDG 5 aims at achieving gender equality in all spheres of life, empowering all women and girls and ending all existing forms of discrimination against them.
Aishwarya impressed upon the need for accelerated action on gender equality. “It will be an honour to serve as UN Women’s advocate for gender equality and women’s empowerment in India. Ensuring safe public and private spaces for women and their effective participation in politics, decision making and the economy are essential steps towards gender equality and the empowerment of women,” she said.
Aishwarya said consistent efforts are needed for ensuring fair participation of women on the planet. “Through my position I hope to draw attention to some of the challenges and also highlight solutions. We need a Planet 50-50 by 2030 and our efforts must begin now,” she emphasised.
In 2015, Aishwarya, who is also a start-up entrepreneur, launched Ten Entertainment, a digital medium to promote short film content and new digital ventures. Along with overseeing the production activities of Wunderbar Films, a company launched by her husband and renowned film actor Dhanush, she is also working on a book, Standing On An Apple Box, that describes her multifarious roles as a celebrity daughter, mother and wife.
Lakshmi Puri feels that Aishwarya inspires confidence in young women and girls across South India and beyond. “With her steadfast belief in gender equality, I am sure she will take UN Women’s message to millions of women, girls, men and boys, and motivate artists, students, intellectuals and policymakers to place gender equality at the heart of their work,” Puri added.
Dr Rebecca Reichmann Tavares, Representative, UN Women India, believes that Aishwarya is perfectly placed for reaching out to masses. “She is perfectly placed to reach out to a range of audiences, particularly young people, and to encourage them to speak out and act to prevent violence against women, create a level playing field for women and girls, and most importantly, help change mindsets and attitudes that allow inequalities to persist,” she said.
Superstar Rajinikanth said he was proud and delighted to have his daughter associated with UN Women to further gender equality. “Aishwarya has always been her own woman, poised and resolute. Her success is the result of sheer courage, determination and perseverance. I support her dedication to gender equality and her untiring efforts will go a long way in strengthening women’s rights throughout the region. I support gender equality. And I encourage all men and boys to take the HeForShe pledge."
Rajnikanth concurs that gender equality is not just a ‘women’s issue’ as it requires everyone to come forward and act to prevent violence against women and ensure equal opportunities for women in our homes and our workplaces.