Sharmili Mallick

Bhubaneswar: From household chores to act as the breadwinner of the family or leading professions, the sky has now become a limit for women and it makes it even bigger achievement when she has to do all that while playing diverse roles in her lifespan.

Many iconic women from India like Indira Gandhi, Kalpana Chawla, Pratibha Patil and Kiran Bedi have left indelible marks with inspirational strides in their own fields to show how regardless of all barriers, women can lead the way.

As society continues to face an uphill task to combat social discrimination & exploitation against them in all walks of life, it has become the need of the hour to eradicate such evils.

On this National Girl Child Day as the nation marks the occasion to spread awareness on fighting menace against women, OTV takes a look at some icons from Odisha who have been breaking boundaries to reach the top.

Saina Salonika

Saina Salonika, the name which itself speaks volumes of success. The chess prodigy from Odisha has been one of the top junior players in the game with her numerous accolades for the country in national and international level.

Asked about the importance of a girl and women empowerment, Saina says, “There is nothing that a boy can do and that cannot be achieved by a girl. Therefore, girls should be given equal opportunities as boys and there should be no gender differences."

Saina’s family is proud of her and believes she has achieved much more what a boy child could have earned.

On her achievements, her mother says, “Saina’s father always wanted a girl. In the contemporary world, girls are a step ahead than boys and many believe a girl child is better than a boy."

Archita Sahu

Women have also been dominating the acting industry and Ollywood actress Archita Sahu is a perfect example of it. She was the first actress from the Odia cine industry to make a way in the national beauty pageant and has established herself in the regional film industry with her talented acting skills.

“We are two sisters and my mother nurtured us in such way that whatever comes, we face it with confidence,” says Archita.

The actress' mother feels proud to have a daughter like her and said, “Once I was told by some people that it would have been good if I had a son. The same people are now saying that daughters are better. I feel proud to be identified as Archita’s mother.”

Dutee Chand

Initially criticised for having an ‘unfit’ physique to match the tall and muscular elite sprinter community, Dutee Chand has now become a household name not only in Odisha but across the country and globe.

Chand, the fastest woman sprinter of the country is the current national champion in the women’s 100-metre event and preparing to qualify for the upcoming Summer Olympics in Tokyo starting July 24.

Chand, with her excellent athletic skills, has made Odisha as well as the country proud in the global forums.

“Not only sports, but girls are also leading in each and every field. I would like to request all the parents to take good care of their girls like jewels (Kanya Ratna). They should co-operate and support them,” the sprinter opines.