Suman Rao, the stunning 21-year-old Indian model who has recently won the title of Miss World Asia 2019 in the Miss World beauty pageant this year, says that she started speaking up for gender equality after she learnt to stand up for herself.
Suman, who had won the title of Miss India 2019, was born in the Aaidana village near Udaipur, and her family shifted to Mumbai soon after her birth. Her Project Pragati, trains village women to make handlooms, decorative handicrafts, accessories, and jewelry.
“I remember being told that ‘until it comes on you and you feel the consequence of an existing social problem, you don’t start working for the solution’. It was the same for me, where I felt women are not getting to voice opinions, and are just following family’s instructions. That’s when I started to realize the importance of bringing about a change. I stood up for myself, and this was the first step towards my cause.
The personal acts of courage had a ripple effect for Suman, resulting in a project that even received support from Princess Diya Kumari Foundation.
“I thought, why not spread the independence I am experiencing to the world? I felt the need to start something. Rural women usually don’t have much say in matters because of financial dependence. In Project Pragati, women in my own village started to make handicrafts and other beautiful products, and they started earning from their sales. In a way, it helped them have something of their own,” Suman told IANSlife in an interview.
Suman also said that delaying punishment to rapists is an act of wronging the women of the country.
Asked about her future and Bollywood plans, she said, “I am studying chartered accountancy. I am doing modelling too, but I would love to explore working in Bollywood if the opportunity comes.”