London: Bollywood diva Madhuri Dixit has been named the most inspirational female Bollywood icon, becoming the first to receive the honour instituted last year.
The 46-year-old actress was bestowed the honour at the third annual Bradford Inspirational Women Awards (BIWA) in Bradford in the UK.
Last year, as the world celebrated 100 years of Bollywood cinema, a special category was announced at BIWA 2013 for the public to nominate their most Inspirational Female Bollywood Icon.
"Greetings everyone. I wanted to reach out and thank the Inspirational Women's Foundation for choosing me as the most inspirational Female Bollywood Icon of all times. It's indeed a great honour," Dixit said in a special video message played at the event.
"I've been a staunch advocate of women's empowerment and I've worked hard throughout my career to advance the cause. It is heartening to see that gender equality is really becoming more of a reality. There is still much more to be done and I'm confident that, by working together, we can empower women worldwide. I would personally like to thank Fatima Patel, Jane Vincent and the Inspirational Women's Foundation for making this possible. Thank you," she added.
The unsung female heroes of Bradford were also once again honoured for their contributions and achievements across public and home life at the coveted award ceremony, which continues to go from strength to strength, with a new category added each year.
This year's new category was Inspirational Woman in Public Services. In addition, two Special Awards were presented on the night by the founders of the Inspirational Woman Foundation a not for profit organisation established to work with and to support women, be it at home, in the workplace, in the community or in business, of which the Inspirational Women Awards are now a part.
An independent panel of judges comprising Adeeba Malik MBE; Deputy Chief Executive of Bradford-based charity, QED; David Ward MP, Bradford East; and Susan Jones, HR Director, Freeman Grattan Holdings selected the category winners, which were announced on the night.