The Devis return: The New Indian Express’ Devi Awards are back, this time in Chennai, to honour dynamic women achievers

After making a fabulous comeback in 2022 at Kolkata following a break of two years, the Devi Awards will be held this year in Chennai
Devi Awards 2022 winners in Kolkata
Devi Awards 2022 winners in Kolkata

Tamil Nadu has borne witness to groundbreaking achievements by women over several decades. From doctor-social reformer Dr Muthulakshmi Reddy to freedom fighter-lawyer Durgabai Deshmukh, we have no dearth of extraordinary female achievers. A woman who marked several firsts in history, Dr Muthulakshmi Reddy was the first woman member of the Madras Legislative Council, the first girl student at Maharaja’s High School as well as the Madras Medical College, the first woman house surgeon in the Government Maternity and Ophthalmic Hospital, and even the first member of the Madras Legislative Council. Meanwhile, freedom fighter, lawyer and social activist Durgabai Deshmukh was instrumental in leading a delegation of women to Santhome Beach during the Salt Satyagraha of 1930 and was among 15 women who were nominated to the Constituent Assembly.

To carry forward the legacies of more such successful women from not just Tamil Nadu but all parts of the country, and recognise their achievements, The New Indian Express decided to take a stand for women and came up with the Devi Awards. The first-ever edition was held in 2014 in Delhi, with Member of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly Vasundhara Raje as our chief guest. Since then, from Kolkata to Kochi, over 220 women have been honoured in 20 editions of the Devi Awards!

After a break of two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Devi Awards made a fabulous comeback in 2022 at Kolkata. From cricketer Jhulan Goswami to actress Swastika Mukherjee, 15 dynamic Devis were felicitated with the esteemed award by the chief guest, former Union minister Dr Subramanian Swamy.

We are now at the 23rd edition of the awards, which will take place in Chennai this time. Twelve Devis from across diverse fields, including sports, dance, history, music, and literature — who have made excellent contributions in their field of work as well as society in general — will be honoured.

Following a ranking by the Thomson Reuters Foundation as the worst country in which to be a woman, the Devi Awards made it their mission to stand by the constitutional right of equality, dignity and freedom from discrimination for all women and increase their reach. Hence, the awards made their debut in Chennai in September 2018. Ten women from across Tamil Nadu, including actress Aishwarya Rajesh and mental health activist Vandana Gopikumar were felicitated that year.

The primary sponsor for the event this year is the Adani group, with ITC Grand Chola as the hospitality partner. The Devis have been chosen through a voting process conducted by the senior editorial team of The New Indian Express and an independent jury.

On February 8. At 5.30 pm.

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