There’s the traditional way; then there’s the Mallika Dutt way. Breaking down barriers is nothing new to Mallika, Founder, President, and CEO of Breakthrough. With grit, heart, and determination, this dynamo shows how embracing pop culture helped get human rights into global consciousness.
Breakthrough is a global human rights organization striving to build a world in which violence against women and girls is unacceptable. Mallika’s approach doesn’t just target women: Her message is for all beings to thrive. She is known for getting men on board as well, immersing herself into pop culture on all accounts. Activist. Writer. Public speaker. Innovator. Healer. Rabble-rouser: Mallika breaks down social, economic, and political barriers to change the culture. She is doing work that truly matters, and we love her for it.
Adam sat down with Mallika to talk about growing up in India, her education, and what it’s like to be at the helm of a phenomenal, award-winning, human rights organization.
“Education: It’s not a one-sized fits all kind of thing.”
Mallika continues to fight for girls around the world to get a safe, accessible education. Why? To open up their worlds: To expand horizons. “Education is not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing,” Mallika says. It is contingent on the kind of education you get. Did you have teachers that inspired you? We all come at learning from different ways, and education is not the means to every end. There are so many people around the world who do not have the choice to be educated but still become great leaders and influencers in our world.
Her education was vital to her success in the world. That message of “I am a woman, and I can do anything” was instilled in her as an undergrad, when she studied International Relations. Going out into the world as a Mount Holyoke graduate meant something. It gave her the confidence, the inroads to her future life. One that started when she made the brave choice to move out of her home, surrounded by family and study abroad. “I grew up in Calcutta, so even just taking the leap to study at Mount Holyoke was a huge one for me. It was a big adventure. At the time that I did that, there weren’t many people from my hometown that were traveling to study abroad.”
It was just the adventure she was looking for – a turn at a liberal arts education – something that wasn’t such a popular choice. “Growing up, with a British-inspired educational system, you chose political science, economics, science – not liberal arts” she says. Yet, the Liberal Arts degree excited her the most. It would be a way to explore new ideas and build relationships with people from around the world.
Read the full story for all Mallika’s amazing insights in issue 4 of Change Creator Magazine. This issue was a tribute to women driving impact.