Friends of Utah: Vinaya Deshpande

Ms. Deshande in India Ms. Deshande in India

Ms. Vinaya Deshpande is a journalist who specializes in reporting on women’s issues in India. In 2013, she received an award for her story on workplace sexual harassment, which helped raise public awareness of the issue, eventually culminating in the Prevention of Sexual Harassment Act. Ms. Deshpande has also reported on terror and crime, women’s safety and empowerment, health and sanitation, infrastructure, and community development. As India continues to rise in importance on the global stage, Ms. Deshpande's work becomes increasingly critical in the promotion of human rights and ethics.

 Her experience in journalistic social advocacy spans over a decade, working as a reporter, correspondent, and Senior Associate Editor for various Indian news channels. She currently works as Bureau Chief of CNN News18 - Mumbai.

In April 2018, Ms. Deshpande visited Utah as part of the International Visitor Leadership Program, a program of the U.S. Department of State, administered by The Mississippi Consortium for International Development (MCID Washington). 

During this program focused on women in politics and civil society, Ms. Deshpande met with then Mayor Jackie Biskupski, the Salt Lake City Police Department, the Utah State University Utah Women in Leadership Project, the Younique Foundation, and Real Women Run, which helps increase gender diversity in political spaces. She recounts that her favorite experience during the program was her meeting with Mayor Jackie Bikupski, because she represented the influence for change and progress that women have in positions of leadership. Additionally, Ms. Deshpande noted that meeting with the police department gave her a greater insight into law enforcement agencies and their civic involvement with Utahns and Utah organizations. 

Since her time in Utah, Ms. Deshpande has won several journalistic awards and recently completed the Chevening Fellowship, one of the most prestigious fellowships for journalism in the UK. She relates that her experience in Utah “broadened my horizon, thereby helping me in discharging my responsibilities better.”. We are so grateful for the opportunity to help Ms. Deshpande in these efforts and wish her the best in her continued efforts to address social issues in India, particularly gender equity.