Asian Women Who Are Role Models for the Millennium

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IN the past, they were often the unseen power behind their entrepreneurial husbands.

Today, more and more Asian women are emerging from the shadows to forge successful careers of their own in business, medicine and the arts.

Six high-flyers were honoured last night at the first Asian Women of Achievement Awards in London. Each, in her own way, is making a unique contribution to British society and helping push back the boundaries for other Asian women.

The awards were organised by the Asian Women of Achievement committee, set up last year by chairman Pinkly Lilani. The committee, which includes influential Asians, drew up a shortlist and decided the winners.

Cherie Blair, resplendent in a turquoise and purple salwar kameez, a traditional Indian outfit of long trousers and tunic borrowed from the organisers, presented one of the awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel.

Clive Anderson and Michael Caine's wife, Shakira, also presented awards.

The winners were:

Professor Parveen Kumar (Professions Award): She was chosen for her contribution to medical education as well as her international reputation in her field.

Professor Kumar, 57, who is married with two children, is a senior lecturer in clinical medical education at St Bartholomew's Hospital and the Royal London School of Medicine. She is also director of continuing medical education at the Royal College of Physicians.

Meena Pathak (Business Corporate Award): With her husband Kirit, Mrs Pathak, 42, is the woman behind the [pounds sterling]30million Patak Spice empire. …