Vogue’s India edition dedicated the cover to Kerala’s ‘forward-thinking minister who adeptly handled the pandemic’.

Shailaja smiles, wearing a white sari with black border and red blouseVogue cover of Minister Shailaja / Credit - KR Sunil
Coronavirus Recognition Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - 09:41

The 'Women of 2020' special edition of Vogue India featured a series of women, as a tribute to the power of women. Among the set of 20 women from India that the magazine recognised and featured, is Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja, who is “the forward-thinking health and family welfare minister who adeptly handled the Nipah virus and then the pandemic.” She was featured on the cover of the magazine as well. The fashion and lifestyle magazine, which has dedicated its November edition to the COVID-19 warriors, also honoured a nurse from Kerala, Reshma Mohandas, and IPS officer Rema Rajeshwari from Telangana, among others.

Incidentally, this year, Vogue followed a new format to celebrate the achievers of 2020, “alongside the women who have led the battle against COVID-19, both behind-the-scenes and on the frontlines”. 

“Today, her name features among the small list of women in power who are lauded globally for their response to the crisis,” the article read on KK Shailaja. Minister Shailaja shot to fame especially this year after Kerala turned into a model state for effectively dealing with the COVID-19 health crisis in the beginning stages.

Vogue’s story further read, “Even today, she is considered among the handful of women leaders (like New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern, Germany’s Angela Merkel and Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-wen) who responded accurately to the crisis.”

In June, she was honoured by the United Nations for Kerala’s effective management of the pandemic. The World Health Organisation (WHO) also lauded the Kerala government and health ministry for the work in prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases, the article further noted.

Minister Shailaja’s new laurel was celebrated by many online, who shared the news and the picture. Apart from her colleagues in the cabinet such as Minister Thomas Isaac, other prominent figures who shared the photo include film actors like Fahadh Faasil, who changed the display picture of his official Facebook page to Shailaja’s cover photo on the magazine.


Posted by Fahadh Faasil on Monday, November 9, 2020


Rema Rajeshwari, the District Police Chief of Mahabubnagar in Telangana, was not only honoured for maintaining law and order during the lockdown, for ensuring her district is updated with verified and credible information.

Apart from Minister Shailaja, the magazine has also honoured other women with Kerala roots, such as Gita Gopinath, the Indian American economist who was formerly the economic advisor of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Reshma Mohandas, the first nurse to have contracted COVID-19 in the state but returned to duty as soon as she recovered, as well as Dr Kamala Rammohan, assistant professor of pulmonary medicine at the Thiruvananthapuram Government Medical College.

Describing Gita Gopinath's contribution, the article on her read: “The intellectual powerhouse and first female chief economist at the International Monetary Fund has taken on the greatest challenge of her career — to guide global economic policy as we enter the worst recession since the Great Depression."

Dr Kamala Rammohan is a pulmonologist and assistant professor of pulmonary medicine at Government Medical College in Thiruvananthapuram. When COVID-19 struck, she was posted in Kasaragod, one of the districts that alarmingly lack proper medical infrastructure. She, along with her colleagues, had to set up an emergency COVID care centre from the scratch in the teaching wing of Kasaragod Medical College. 

Nurse Reshma Mohandas quickly returned to work to play her part in helping two of the oldest COVID-19 patients in the state recover.


Screenshots from the Vogue India magazine

Commander Swati Raval of Air India has also been featured in the list. She was one of the first pilots that led the crew who brought back 263 Indians stranded in Italy, which was one of the first COVID-19 hotspots, on March 22.

India Women's national field hockey team, entrepreneur Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and actors Dia Mirza, Vidya Balan, Priyanka Chopra, Jameela Jamil and District Police Chief of Mahabubnagar Rema Rajeshwari were also featured in the list.

Screenshot from the Vogue India website

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