International Women's Day 2017: 5 women who broke ground in male-dominated fields

Keerthi Mohan
DJ Arlene

Facebook/DJ Arlene

International Women's Day, which falls on March 8, is all about celebrating the spirit of womenhood, and this year's theme is Be Bold for Change. As any woman who has dared to think different know, it is not easy to break stereotypes and create a name for oneself in this male-dominated society.

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Here are five women who broke the glass ceiling and has become a source of inspiration for many out there.

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Arlene Gomez – The music industry is clearly male-dominated even today. But DJ Arlene managed to make a mark for herself and is now one of the most popular female DJs around. She was just 18 when she started her career back in early 2000s and back then she was the youngest and the only woman in Bangalore to take on the role.

"There were haters (as there are in every profession) who couldn't really say anything about my music, so they spoke about my appearance, and what 'I must be doing' to be getting so many events. However, that did not deter me from following my passion," she told The Times of India, adding, "In fact, it pushed me to better myself."

Bharti Singh – Comedian Bharti Singh is today a household name, and she is one of the most popular female stand-up comediennes in India. But when she started out there weren't many women comediennes around.

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"I always wanted to be a comedienne and make others laugh," she was quoted as saying by Daily Pioneer. "But there were hardly any comedy actors when I started out. There were no platforms to promote this art form for women. Knowing this reality, I still choose to travel this path. It was not always easy and like any other person I had to struggle a lot. But I had confidence on my abilities and determined to realise my goal. Comedy is my life. I live it everyday," Singh stated.

Ambika Pillai – Ambika Pillai is a much sought-after hairstylist and make-up artist at all Fashion Weeks. But it wasn't an easy journey for Pillai, who had to start from scratch after travelling to Delhi to start a new life with her two young children following a divorce at 21.
Besides Bollywood beauties such as Sushmita Sen, Aishwarya Rai, Katrina Kaif and Bipasha Basu, Pillai has also worked with Saudi King Fahd's granddaughter and other royal families of the Middle East.

Yasmin Karachiwala – Today, Yasmin Karachiwala is one of the most sought-after fitness trainers for Bollywood beauties. She entered the business in 1992, and over the course of time she has managed to chart out the perfect workout suited for Indian bodies.

"In 2007, I discovered pilates," she told DNA. "Everyone who came to me was doing a combo of cardio and weight training but the Indian body really struggles with their stomach pre and post pregnancy. Even young girls are thin all over but have a stomach. I realised you could do a 1000 crunches but that will just strengthen your abs, not really get rid of the fat. Basic gym exercises don't reach the deepest level of your ab muscles. That's when I found pilates."

Shatbhi Basu – It's not common to find women behind the bar juggling bottles and making the perfect martini. But that did not deter Shatbhi Basu, the head of STIR, a professional bartending institute, from taking bartending as a profession.
"I look upon untried careers such as bartending for women as an opportunity to shine and change perceptions that arise out of cultural blocks and lack of insight," she was quoted as saying by The Better India. "You have to be exceptionally strong or come."

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