The empowerment walk – 15 minutes of fashion for a cause

Team RevSportz in Empowerment Walk attire (Image: Joy Sengupta for RevSportz)

The empowerment walk. It made the Trailblazers Conclave 2.0 what it was – a story of inclusivity and sensitivity.

It all started with a chat with my friend, Suman Saha.

What could we do to make the conclave more inclusive? While the sessions are all intense, could there be something which was different and yet stood testament to what we stand for?

For days, we kept thinking. Till the time Suman, Sameer, Ramneek, Sharmistha, Harish and I had a long brainstorming session. We arrived at what we called the empowerment walk. We aren’t models. We wouldn’t normally be considered ‘ramp-walk material’. And yet, we did. Everyone did. It was for a cause. The cause of women’s sport and Paralympics sport. We decided that before we started the final session to celebrate women’s day, we would all walk the ramp for 15 minutes in solidarity. Yes, we needed hand-holding because we knew nothing about walking the ramp. We needed professionals to lead us. We needed a show-stopper.

Now who could be a show-stopper, while also being someone who inspires? Who could be the captain? Come in, Anju Bobby George. I asked Anju if she could lead the way. With her, you always get one thing – confidence.

Sharmistha Gooptu and Trisha Ghosal in the empowerment walk (Image: Joy Sengupta)

She was the skipper. And once the captain was there to lead, we all followed. There were professional models there alongside us, but most importantly, our team walked the ramp with athletes making a telling statement. We are a movement – a movement for sport. We want equality for able-bodied and Para athletes, we wish to do away with discrimination against women athletes, and we stand for equal opportunities and pay parity.

We did not have time to rehearse. In the middle of the conclave madness, it wasn’t possible. But then, Suman and his team were stellar. They held it together and managed things to make sure it was a fantastic 15 minutes. We all loved it. Anju did, the athletes did, and so did the audience. And yes, none of us felt embarrassed. We would never. As I said, it is a cause we stand for, and come what may, we will strive towards making the movement our own. And inclusive.

Thank you to Nautica, House of Pataudi, and HRX by Hrithik Roshan for this unique idea, and helping us implement it. Thanks Suman, Harish, Ramneek, Sameer, Sharmistha and all who pitched in. And Anju, you were the leader.


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