India’s foreign minister Sushma Swaraj is one of the 19 women in contention for Women of the Year title, an yearly recognition by business publication Financial Times given to women for their contribution in politics, business, sports, performing arts and to society.
The honour for 64-year old Swaraj comes shortly after her party mate and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi won the Readers poll for the Time ‘Person of the Year’.
Swaraj has been dubbed as “national agony aunt” by the London-based pink paper. It highlighted how she frequently goes out of her way to help Indians in need in foreign countries.
“Swaraj has answered pleas for help from overseas Indians caught in armed conflict, confronting legal or medical problems or left jobless and stranded,” FT praised her in the article announcing the shortlist.
The political veteran is among the most influential women leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and is immensely popular among Indians. Swaraj has 6.7 million followers on Twitter, a social networking site she often uses to conduct her business.
She has also been commended for her efforts to try help thousands of Indian workers in the Middle-East, many of whom reportedly work in tough conditions and are often barred from leaving before fulfilling their employment contracts.
— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) November 6, 2016
At present, Swaraj remains bed-ridden at the hospital as she waits for her kidney transplant. After the news broke out that she had suffered a kidney failure, there was an outpouring of support for the minister with many Indians volunteering to be the donor.
The top woman nominations also features UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May, defeated US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, singer Beyonce and 2016 African-American gold-medal winning gymnast Simone Biles, among other prominent women.