Mallika Dutt

“You have to meet Mallika—she’s amazing!” my friend Lynn Harris enthused. She was so right. There are few people with visions big enough to encompass human rights on a global scale and then create breakthrough ways to advance them. Mallika Dutt did just that, and she tells her story in this week’s “She’s Doing It.” President and CEO of Breakthrough, the global human rights organization she started is based in New York and India and uses the power of arts, media, and pop culture to advance dignity, equality, and justice. Read on and be sure to watch the powerful video’s they’ve produced to deliver the message.

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The late Bella Abzug used to say that we would know women have made it when a mediocre woman was as likely to be promoted as a mediocre man. Similarly, we know women have made great strides as leaders when we have to acknowledge imperfections at the same time that we celebrate elevations to power. Thanks to The Daily Femme writer Sara Messelaar, whose thoughtful piece asks important questions about how women leaders–or any historical figures–should be judged. Be sure to read to the end of it and then share your thoughts!

Just around the corner from my home here in Berlin, the tram stops at the intersection of Berliner Alley and Indira-Gandhi Street. For a long time, whenever the voice in the tram announced “Indira Gandhi Straße,” I thought: “she must have been a really great politician.” That feeling of her “greatness” quietly settled into my subconscious–the very reaction public memorials are supposed to foster in the first place. Mission Public Remembrance Accomplished. Woman’s History Month finally got me to take a real look at Gandhi’s story. I’m really glad I did, because Gandhi’s story is a complicated, unsettling, shocking chapter in women’s history.

Gandhi (who is not related in any way shape or form to Mahatma, by the way) served as the Prime Minister of India for four terms—longer than any other female Prime Minister in the world. Her position as the leader of the world’s largest democracy was especially impressive, since even today women in India struggle for equal treatment. As Cristen wrote, women are so disregarded in India that they don’t even have adequate public bathrooms for them. Gandhi, however, never let any of that get in her way.

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