Four Malayali women receive Vogue India’s Women of the Year Award

Minister KK Shailaja, nurse Reshma Mohandas, economist Gita Gopinath and Dr Kamala Rammohan receive the Award
Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja
Kerala Health Minister KK ShailajaVogue India

Vogue India has announced the Women of the Year Awards in their special edition, ‘Women of 2020’, this month. In its fourth edition, Vogue India’s Women of the Year Awards rolled aside the physical red carpet and went virtual in announcing the Awards, keeping pace with the changing times. According to the magazine, the fourth edition of the event is split into three shows that will be streamed on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook on November 27, 28, and 29, 2020.

The fashion and lifestyle magazine, which has paid tribute to the power of women to the likes of media mogul Arianna Huffington, industrialist Nita Ambani, YouTube celebrity Lilly Sing and actors Anushka Sharma and Katrina Kaif among many others in their previous editions, says that this year, they are celebrating the achievers alongside the women who have led the battle against Covid-19.

Four Malayalis — Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja, Kottayam nurse Reshma Mohandas, Gita Gopinath, the first female chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, and Dr Kamala Rammohan, Assistant Professor Pulimary Medicine at the Thiruvananthapuram Government Medical College receive the Award this year.

Shailaja is one among the set of 20 women from India that the magazine has recognised for the Women of the Year Award. According to the magazine, Shailaja not only handled the Nipah virus adeptly, but the Covid-19 pandemic as well.

An interview with Shailaja by Manju Sara Rajan is featured in the magazine. Manju is co-authoring a book with Shailaja on Kerala’s public health system and the state’s Covid-19 response. It will be released by Juggernaut Books next year. Shailaja, who was invited as the sole speaker from India to the United Nations Public Service Day in June, says that her first memory of politics is “holding my grandmother’s hand at a political meeting. I didn’t know what was going on, but that atmosphere stayed with me,” in the interview. Dubbed ‘Coronavirus slayer’ by various international media, the minister says in the interview, “Kerala was criticized for overreacting, but we knew it was very infectious. We don’t have the resources to manage large amount of patients so we had to make sure numbers were low.”

Gita Gopinath
Gita GopinathVogue India

An article in the magazine on Gita Gopinath reads, “The intellectual powerhouse and first female chief economist at the International Monetary Fund has taken on the greatest challenge of her career — to guide global economic policy as we enter the worst recession since the Great Depression.” Gita was formerly the economic advisor to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

For Reshma Mohandas, a nurse at the Medical College Hospital in Kottayam, patient care goes way beyond science. The nurse, who contracted Covid-19 while taking care of of India’s oldest COVID-19 patients back to health, returned to duty as soon as she recovered. “I knew I would contract the virus from them [the elderly couple]. But since they were so frail and old, I needed to be around longer, to speak louder and care a little extra,” she tells Vogue India.

Kamala Rammohan
Kamala RammohanVogue India

Dr Kamala Rammohan, assistant professor of pulmonary medicine at the Thiruvananthapuram Government Medical College, was part of an expert team sent to Kasaragod, one of Kerala’s Covid hotspots.

She, along with her colleagues, had to set up an emergency COVID care centre from scratch in the teaching wing of Kasaragod Medical College. “There was teamwork and camaraderie, we picked up tables, moved furniture, we did what we had to do to turn it into a place that could receive patients,” she says in the interview.

Tina Dabi, the IAS officer who spearheaded the containment of Covid-19 in Bhilwara in Rajasthan, Deepa Tracy, whose Mantra Foundation has been providing daily lunches for the underprivileged in Mumbai since March, and India Women’s Field Hockey team were among others who were listed for the award.

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