“We want to come big in #circularity and would make you the president of the new committee” were the luring words to invite me to a big #conference which was recently convened at #Goa.
The conference, a gathering of more than 500 people, had only 4 #women including me. One was the anchor of the show, one was the wife of a delegate attending the meet, third was a girl from #recycling industry and me.
Prepping for the meet and the panel, I invested almost 2 working days, apart from my time at the conference. While I was looking forward to the panel, I did not know that a ‘Game of thrones’ was also on the agenda.
Out of almost 6 panels, the only panel that saw a woman’s face was the last one (not sure deliberate planning). The panel saw 4 men and me. I was invited as a #speaker come, #moderator. The #organizers made sure that I introduced all the speakers before the panel began. However, to my astonishment, they did not think of introducing me. Perturbed by their #discretion, I had to introduce myself.
“Shalini Ji I have given your name for the new committee; it should have #women participation as well. I am very particular about #gender“, are the words of a gentleman who obliged by referring my name to the committee.
“Madam, we would come to #Delhi and have lengthy discussions on the committee with you”, said another.
“Shalini Ji you are a celebrity now. But why do you have to go so fast Be slow” said the third.
“What circularity madam, this is #EU agenda, why do you want to bring this to #India. Why don’t you find something relevant to India?”, was the question asked by one of the most #erudite in the group.
“Circularity is #recycling. I am going to say that. I think we all should emphasize that on the panel tomorrow”, someone said to give #direction to my #speech.
I am both, astonished and startled at their remarks. The king of the jungle not only wants to rule but tame the entire jungle. Why are men scared of women’s success? Why is it so difficult to respect the other gender? Do men feel elated after disrespecting a lady?
What do you think?
Well, the entire episode has definitely made me #stronger and even more #confident. And this one is for all those who have tried to #dissuade me:
As someone called me on multiple panels, the czar/torchbearer of Circular Economy in India, “I WILL STAND BY MY AGENDA. I AM NOT GOING TO GIVE UP. YOUR WORDS ARE NOT GOING TO DETER ME. THEY MAKE ME EVEN STRONGER”
The article is written by Shalini Goyal Bhalla. A postgraduate environmentalist, Shalini is the author of India’s first book on Circular economy. She has represented India on multiple international platforms through her speeches and programs. She writes for many Indian as well as international magazines. She strongly believes that India as a part global South has a lot to offer to the global North. Working on several projects with EEB, OECD, Prevent waste alliance, and UNIDO, she has been invited by the Zero Waste EU to represent her Project ZERO. She has been a part of several FDPs and Executive training programs at IIMs and IITs. She is associated with MSME and with Delhi Govt on their Entrepreneurship Mindset program. Social Founder; London, Global Goodwill Ambassador; the US, Women empowerment award by ICUNR, Women in leadership award by Pathbreakers are a few awards that add to her laurels.