Ela Bhatt (ઇલા ભટ્ટ)
Ela Bhatt, a Gandhian, is widely recognized as one of the world’s most remarkable pioneers and entrepreneurial forces in grassroots development. Known as the “gentle revolutionary,” she has dedicated her life to making the contributions of India’s poor, self-employed women visible and their voices heard. In 1972, she founded the Self Employed Women’s Association (sewa), a trade union of now more than one million poor women in India. She was a nominated member of the Indian Parliament, and subsequently a member of the Indian Planning Commission. She was one of the Founders and then Chair of Women’s World Banking, Women in Informal Economy: Globalising, Organising (wiego), and the International Alliance of Homebased Workers (HomeNet). She has received several awards, including the Ramon Magsaysay Award, the Right Livelihood Award, Niwano Peace Prize, Indira Gandhi International Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development, and the Four Freedoms Award, as well as honorary doctorates from Harvard, Yale, Natal, McMaster and other academic institutions. Ela Bhatt is a member of The Elders, a group of global leaders promoting peace by amplifying the voices of people who need to be heard. Recently Elaben became the Chancellor of Gujarat Vidyapith, a university founded by Mahatma Gandhi in Ahmedabad.