Named one of Forbes India's "30 Under 30" in 2017, Angellica Aribam has been working on issues of race, gender, and the democratization of politics for nearly a decade. Hailing from Manipur, in the ethnically and economically marginalized northeastern region of India, Angellica faced racial injustice and discrimination firsthand since her childhood. It motivated her to get involved in politics realizing that politics was the best way to change this status quo. In 2012, she became the first student from the marginalized northeastern region of India to be elected in the Delhi University Students' Union Executive Committee. Subsequently, she served as a National General Secretary of the National Students’ Union of India, the students' wing of Indian National Congress, for five years. In 2017, she decided to pause her political career to work on a larger goal - to get more women into politics.
As a first-generation woman politician, Angellica has lived and experienced the trials and tribulations of being a woman in politics in a deeply patriarchal society. Femme First Foundation is her way of paying it forward.
In her words, "The story of Femme First Foundation is intertwined with my story".
Angellica was an inaugural VVEngage Fellow for Women Political Leaders at Vital Voices, an American NGO founded by Hillary Clinton, where she was mentored by former women Prime Ministers of Canada, New Zealand, and Peru; and trained by professors of Harvard Kennedy School. She was also an ACYPL delegate, sponsored by US State Department, in 2020.
With a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from University of Delhi and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Peking University on a full governmental scholarship, Angellica is on a quest for learning. As a staunch advocate for gender and racial rights, she regularly writes for various Indian publications including The Indian Express, The Wire, The Times of India amongst others. In her spare time, she loves to read, cook, and model.
For most, travelling as a way of life is a dream. For Ankita Phalle, it became a reality in April 2014, during her last year at Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics (Mumbai) when she, along with three others launched Mapping Journeys, a travel venture to create a community of travelers who learn from experiences and immerse themselves in local culture.
On her trips to far-off villages, she met people who had potential but lacked opportunity. She wanted to create an education system tailored for such people and this led her to do the Teach For India Fellowship. She taught a class of 6th Grade children in a low-income school at Mumbai. Most of them were below-grade-level coping with issues ranging from adolescence to facing domestic violence at home. This taught her to strategically solve problems, build relations with external stakeholders, involve parents in the education process, and create strong classroom culture and opportunities for her students.
After completion of her Fellowship and gaining knowledge in the Education sector, Ankita has continued to work in the development sector. Having worked for a year in Manipur, she was motivated to pursue an MA in Peace and Conflict studies from the University of Manchester.
Ishita is a software professional with a zest for working towards social, political, and economic equality of sexes. With an association with Infosys that spans over 6 years, she has been working towards digitisation of banking process and has held roles across consulting, solution design and implementation and is slated to join Said Business School, University of Oxford for the class of 2022.
A B.Tech graduate in Electronics and Communication Engineering, she found the disproportionate nature of engineering field in terms of gender extremely unsettling and thought-provoking during her graduation. Her discomfort was further fuelled by her work assignments that took her to a number of places in Africa and South-East Asia, where a skewed leadership and a skewed team structure was much more notable. Perceiving the world to be malleable which can be shaped the way one wants, she intends to change the current landscape by working towards promoting women representation in leadership roles. In her opinion, the changes in laws and policies that such an enhanced representation would bring will be instrumental in improving the situation at the grass root level, thus bringing in the change which she feels is long overdue.