Which women inspire you – and why?
This International Women’s Day, we’re taking a moment to recognize the women who are important to us.
From mothers and sisters, to best friends and colleagues, or even celebrities and fictional heroines – tell us about the women whose words, actions and achievements you look up to.
We want to know: which women inspire you – and why?
This week, we’ve featured some trailblazing female grads, but there are a lot more alumnae and non-alumnae who are worthy of a shout out on this special day.
Let us know in the comments below or email us by April 1, 2019.
Alumni Answers is our way of building community with our alumni and friends by sharing memories, ideas, and opinions with one another. Every month, we’ll pose a new question to make us ponder, laugh, or learn together and share the responses in an upcoming UM Today story. Want to get next month’s question sent straight to your inbox? Email alumni_answers [at] umanitoba [dot] ca with “Sign me up!” in the subject line.
There are many women that inspire me, especially Canadian women like Clara Hughes, Deepa Mehta, Celine Dion, Dr. Roberta Bondar, Kelly Leitch, Dr. Jennie Smillie Robertson, Dr. Emily Howard Jennings Stowe, Margaret Atwood, Margaret Lawrence and so many others.
However, personally and in my life, I do know an amazing role model and influencer. That is mom: Dr. Sushil Chudasama. She is a trendsetter and a pioneer for what can be achieved.
She went to medical school in the 1970s in India and lived away from home when it was not the acceptable thing to do. She immigrated to Canada after her marriage and started her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology in Winnipeg in the 1980s.
In a quest for family, spirituality and cultural roots, my family and I moved to India for seven years from 1983 to 1991. She ran a successful Ob/Gyn practice in India.
In those days, the Indian government was providing colour TVs and transistor radios for those couples who would practice family planning. So it was up to the women to get IUDs or have tubal ligation. My mom ensured, counseled and was a huge proponent for this. She would take the time to explain things in a manner that anybody would understand. Moreover, she would talk to the family members as well since permissions were needed.
She introduced women to sanitary napkins as they were not on market yet. She has delivered babies in slums. Women would travel from villages to see her. She encouraged women to exercise and walk durng their pregnancy, which was considered a taboo at that time. There are so many achievements here and there.
But a testimonial to her dedication and hard work is that people back in that town (population: +100,000) still remember her and her hospital after its closing 28 years later. Even people from that area of the province, remember her when I have visited.
Some of the babies that she has delivered, have contacted her to convey their thanks.
After coming back to Canada, she gave her licensing exams and was doing research on premature births as she waited for her medical license. After being reinstated as medical doctor, she worked in bone marrow, which was challenging on its own. I have met a few families who have even approached me to tell me how wonderful my mom was when their family member was sick.
Currently, she works at the HSC as a house medical officer in Psychiatry. And has been there for over 20 years. Her compassion and integrity are still paramount.
Her career is definitely awe inspiring to me in that she persevered, struggled but came out a winner! And in all of that, she never lost faith, her humanity or her giving spirit. And she is so humble, she hates talking about herself (even gets a little upset, to tell the truth…)
As for a mom, she has given me all the freedoms, independence with responsibilities and has let me soar high! She has always been my advocate and has ensured my happiness. I am so lucky to have her.
I just wanted to share this on International Women’s Day because we all have unsung heroes in our lives!