This wonderful news comes to us from Maharashtra, India.
Deepa Parab calls herself an actor turned activist. She worked for quite a few years in Mumbai where she trained to work as a policewoman hoping to get inducted in the Maharashtrian Police Force. Simultaneously she would do the odd job of working as a junior artist in films or as a make- up artist to fund herself. It was here that she first encountered a bodyguard.
Her curiosity piqued, she began talking to the bodyguards who would accompany actors and actresses on the sets. She asked them about their jobs and wanted to become a bodyguard herself. When they heard that Deepa had undergone training as a policewoman, they realized that she too could work with them and that was how she started, accompanying them to events where she learned the ropes.
Along with other female bouncers, Deepa would be stationed outside the restrooms and bathrooms, ready to help female guests who got a little too tipsy. Pubs and concerts were her regular haunts and when she requested the authorities to give her more responsibility she was told that a woman could do only as much.
This realization struck her, and she moved back to Pune where she was motivated enough to start an academy called Ranragini for training and employing women in a career as a bouncer. She started by spreading the word at religious events, targeting the women who came from low income backgrounds.
She looked for women who were above 5 feet and had a considerable build. According to her bouncers cannot hide in the mob and they need to stand out. From humble beginnings with her 12 wards in 2016, Deepa slowly built up her academy which now employs 540 women in a span of 3 years.
One of their first jobs or assignments was to take care of the women and the elderly at the Ganesha festival and they did a stellar job, prompting calls from interested parties who wished to join Ranragini Academy and also event managers who wanted to hire them professionally.
The women at Ranragini undergo rigorous physical training to make them capable of standing for 8 hours a day and being mentally alert to any signs of nuisance. For each event they receive 700-800 rupees of which Deepa keeps a hundred to herself.
Ranragini Academy now has college students, dropouts, housewives and widows in its ranks and is growing by the day. Their reassuring presence at school events, parties and celebrity functions shows that women are ready to take on the world!
Image Credit: The Better India