Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented the first Global Fairness Initiative Award to Ela Bhatt, founder of the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), a partner of the Unitarian Universalist Holdeen India Program (UUHIP).
“She (Bhatt) has helped not only women in India but women in South Africa, in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and inspired so many others to find their own way forward to overcome long legacies of inequality and unfairness. She has helped us imagine and then work toward a fairer world,” Clinton said at the award ceremony, which was held at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.
“So, for her contribution to India and particularly the women of India, and to the global community, it is my honor to present the first Global Fairness Award to my friend, Ela Bhatt,” Clinton said amidst heartfelt applause.
With a membership of over 1.2 million, SEWA works towards strengthening women’s leadership, their confidence, their bargaining power within and outside their homes, and their representation in policy-making and decision-making fora. The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), through the UU Holdeen India Program, has been a strong ally and supporter of SEWA for the last 26 years.
Also in attendance at the Fairness Award Ceremony were Reema Nanavaty, Director of Economic and Rural Development for SEWA, and Kathy Sreedhar, Director of the UUHIP.
Earlier this year, Bhatt was also conferred the prestigious Niwano Peace Prize.