Twinkle Khanna was invited to be part of a panel of “girl power” change-makers at the United Nation’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Day in New York on 17th November 2017. Held to empower women and girls globally to help alleviate poverty, Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WED) curated the ‘Sparking Confidence in Girls with Stars of Today‘ panel, which saw Twinkle Khanna join discussions with other eminent personalities including Sara Bareilles, singer, songwriter, 6-time Grammy nominee, Broadway musical writer/composer “Waitress”, Mikaila Ulmer, 12 Years Old, Founder Me & the Bees Lemonade & Successful ABC Shark Tank contestant, Angela Simmons, Founder/Designer Foofi and Bella, Editor Angela’s Rundown, Star WE TV’s Growing Up Hip Hop and MTV’s Run House, Philanthropist. The panel was moderated by Veronica Dagher, ‘Secrets of Wealthy Women’ @WSJPodcasts and Wall Street Journal Wealth Adviser Reporter.
In an event replete with a host of high-profile attendees such as the CEO of Beauty Evolution, Bobbi Brown, the First Woman Television Producer in the US Lucy Jarvis and one of the Board of Directors of UN Women For Peace Association Muna Rihani Al-Nasser, Twinkle Khanna shared her inspirational thoughts on the key aspects to overcoming female oppression in industries far and wide to ensure that all have the equal opportunity to become successful.
“There are two things needed to be successful. One is a genuine interest in what you are doing, and the other is aptitude. If you have high interest and low aptitude – you have a hobby. If you have high aptitude but low interest – you have a job. If you have high interest and high aptitude – then you have yourself a career!’
“Secondly, trust your instinct! Your instinct is an amalgamation of all your experiences and information you have gathered which sit in your subconscious; they’re neurons rapidly firing together acting on the knowledge you have accumulated that is speaking to you” she added Twinkle Khanna.
Twinkle was also keen to express the need to experience failures and setbacks in order to grow, learn and be successful. “We teach our children to strive hard and to succeed but we don’t talk to them about failure. Failure is a learning tool, a cornerstone of success with hurdles being a necessity. The adventure lies in climbing up the mountain and not in walking on plain ground.”
About Twinkle Khanna
A serial entrepreneur, Twinkle Khanna’s latest role is that of Producer for ‘Padman’ – the world’s first feature film on menstrual hygiene releasing in cinema’s around the world on the 26th of January 2018. She was invited by BBC World News, live from New York, to discuss the making of the film as well as the importance of raising the issue of female menstrual hygiene and dignity around the world.
Starring international megastar Akshay Kumar, ‘Padman’ is the official biopic of Arunachalam Muruganantham who created the sanitary napkin revolution in India by inventing a machine to make low-cost sanitary pads. Speaking to BBC presenter Philippa Thomas, Twinkle Khanna discussed the origination of the idea to make a film based on the real ‘padman’. She said: “I came across the story of Arunachalam Muruganantham when researching him for Times of India. I knew I had to make a film on his story and after weeks of trying to contact him, we finally agreed to make the film.”
She later outlined the extraordinary story of Arunachalam Muruganantham: “He decided that he would test the sanitary pad himself by putting it between his legs whilst he had a plastic sachet of blood also placed there. He then began to cycle everywhere to see if the blood would be absorbed by the pad. He was ostracised by his friends and family and his wife left him, but this didn’t stop him. He went on to create a machine which till this day is used to dispense sanitary pads at an affordable price.”
The story of ‘Padman’ was first featured in Twinkle Khanna’s best-selling book of short-stories, The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad. Responding to the question of why Twinkle Khanna felt the story had to be made into a film, she said: “I wrote a book on his story, but I think modern day consumers are viewers not readers, so it was important to have a film on this as well as his story which needs to be heard.”
Issues relating to menstruation and menstrual hygiene are not just limited to developing nations but are a global phenomenon. For instance, only 12% of women have access to sanitary pads in India. The film, which will be shown in Indian and worldwide cinemas has sent shock waves around the world, with its bold endeavours to detach the stigma from female menstrual hygiene and to promote menstrual dignity, gaining plaudits from sources far and wide. Speaking about the ambition to ensure the film reaches and resonates with a global audience Twinkle Khanna said: “I thought his story should reach every household in India as well as around the globe because this really is a worldwide issue. The Inability to buy affordable sanitary pads and the issues around ‘Menstrual Tax’ are not just problems in India but are global.” She added: “20% of children drop out of school once they start menstruating and this must change. We hope this film can contribute to this.”
‘Padman’ releases internationally on 26th January 2018 through Sony Pictures.