The Martha Farrell Award for Excellence in Women’s Empowerment has been awarded to Nadiya Shafi from Jammu & Kashmir to recognise her exceptional work in the area. A Srinagar resident, Nadiya is a video reporter, associated with the Kashmir Unheard Project and Video Volunteers. With the Project from 2014, after completing her Masters in Social Work from the University of Kashmir, Nadiya has been defying patriarchal norms in a society where domestic & sexual violence are more the norm than exception.
Learning that she had won the award, Nadiya said, “It is indeed an honour to receive the Martha Farrell Award. The valley is a beautiful place, but the women here have never been able to appreciate this beauty due to the turmoil within from generations of unfortunate subjugation. And I have only just scratched the surface in making them and people aware about the importance of being equal. This Award will only make my resolve stronger to work towards this cause with even more conviction.”
Nadiya has been leading gender discussions clubs in her hometown. The club comprises students, housewives, labourers, artisans, farmers – citizens of Srinagar – and engages them in discussions about sexuality, patriarchy and gender inequality. She is currently in the process of expanding these clubs to the Shopian & Phulwama districts of Southern Kashmir, which are some of the most disturbed areas of the decades-long armed & cross-border conflicts.
Martha Farrell awards have been instituted in the memory of Dr. Martha Farrell, a prominent activist for gender equality and women’s empowerment, who was killed in Kabul (Afghanistan) in a terrorist attack in 2015, while leading a gender training workshop for the Aga Khan Foundation. The Martha Farrell Award for Excellence in Women’s Empowerment takes forward her ideals and principles.
A total of 82 nominations were received this year, which were carefully reviewed for merit by an eight-member jury comprising eminent jurists, women’s rights proponents, film makers, social activists, and media entrepreneurs.
Rizwan Adatia Foundation and PRIA support the awards.
Rizwan Adatia, Founder of Rizwan Adatia Foundation, said, “Nadiya is the intent behind the Martha Farrell Awards. Strong individuals and groups, who are undeterred in their paths to promote gender equality and awareness. Nadiya should be emulated across the country, so that women’s empowerment moves from being just a catchphrase to a reality.”
Dr Rajesh Tandon, Founder-President, PRIA, who co-sponsor the Award, said, “The current scenario, perhaps more than ever, calls for active engagement with women’s empowerment. Martha Farrell Awards are proof of the different ways in which we can collectively work towards a gender equitable society”.