Leading up to International Women’s Day, renowned sports nutrition and wellness brand Steadfast Nutrition has launched a first-of-its-kind initiative to shed light on the neglected issue of women’s health and the female athletes who have quietly revolutionized Indian sports.
The aptly titled Iron Women Celebration campaign culminated with a high-profile event in Noida on 5 March.
Eminent female athletes from the worlds of football, powerlifting, bodybuilding and cycling discussed “the challenges facing female athletes and the way forward”. Among them were defender of the Indian women’s national football team Dalima Chhibber, Indian bodybuilding trailblazer Dr. Rita Jayrat, athlete and reigning bodybuilding champion of the year Surbhi Jaiswar, and professor of anatomy and physical education Dr. Mridula Saikia.
Patriarchy in Indian sports, the wage gap between male and female athletes, and solutions to increase the popularity of Indian sports are some of the topics that were brought up during the discussion.
Steadfast Nutrition founder Aman Puri said, “Steadfast is a firm believer in the phenomenal power of women. Iron Women is not a special category of celebrities, but all those women who persevere through life’s difficulties and become pioneers thanks to their extraordinary spirit. We are delighted that with our campaign we have been able to draw attention to these sports revolutionaries who have made their mark in their field. While there are several poster boys in Indian sports like Sania Mirza, Mitali Raj, P.V. Sindhu and Saina Neval, today we managed to shed light on the contribution of the Iron Women who silently broke barriers without making headlines in the field of football, bodybuilding, weightlifting. . and cycling that challenges gender stereotypes. Steadfast is proud to have accompanied these athletes throughout their sporting journey.”
Another highlight of the event was a lecture by nutrition experts on the basic nutritional needs of women, the steps to develop a sound plan for women’s health, the widespread problem of iron deficiency anemia among the majority of the Indian population, especially women, and the audacious way. The brand has also launched a nutritional supplement aimed at bridging the gap between the availability of high quality iron supplements and the nutritional needs of Indian women.
Aman also pointed to the lack of attention to women’s health in the current discourse about women and how vitamin and mineral deficiencies are placing a heavy burden not only on women but also on society, both in terms of health care costs and in terms of reducing economic performance. He also talked about the steps his company has taken to meet this challenge.
Aman Puri said: “An often underestimated factor in the path to women’s empowerment is women’s health. Through our campaign, we have been able to educate a large number of people about the need to include the right nutrients and supplements in a woman’s diet. The problem of anemia is more serious than it seems, especially among vegetarian women. 51% of women of reproductive age in India are anemic. With the launch of Steadfast Iron, we want to address these common health concerns among women. Vitamin C has been added to improve iron absorption. It also contains B vitamins to combat the problem of fatigue, which is a common symptom of anemia.
During the round table, most of the athletes admitted that they faced patriarchy during their sports career. From veteran athletes like Dr. Rita Jayrat to Generation X stars like Dalima Chhibber, they have all shown that Indian society still has a long way to go when it comes to creating a society of gender equality.
“When I started this path, it was considered blasphemous for a woman to be interested in bodybuilding. I didn’t get any support from anyone. Muscular women caused laughter. I was asked to dress in a certain way to judge the event,” said Rita Jayrat.
“Every time I was on the football field, I had to prove that women can play. I grew up playing with guys. There were no women’s tournaments,” said Dalima Chibber. The 24-year-old has always found a place on the women’s soccer team since she made her soccer debut at the 2016 South Asian soccer games.
Many of the decisions have come about as a result of discussions about how traditionally male-dominated Indian sports such as football can increase their audience. Most suggested that women should “fight their own battles” and should have hope and positivity to make things happen in their own way. They also offered more coverage of women’s games.
Dalima said: “Women athletes and football players should be given more opportunities and recognition. The more matches, the more positive results.
All participants agreed that there is an urgent need to address the gender pay gap in sport.
“Of course, there is a big pay gap between male and female athletes. This is because we all live in a patriarchal society.
The discussion ended on a promising note and all participants agreed that this was the beginning of a change in attitudes towards women in Indian sports. Most agreed that family support is critical to a woman’s success.
Shreya Das, a rising star in bikini bodybuilding, has come to the conclusion that the very fact that protein brands represent women shows things are changing.
Read all the latest Assembly news, breaking news and live updates here.