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Amazing Women of the Suncoast: Dr. Mona Jain

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Dr. Mona Jain served as Director of Family Health Services for Manatee County's Head Start program until she retired. She is both a medical doctor and an educator. She started the annual Women's Equality Day celebration. She is truly an amazing woma

Dr. Jain's incredible journey began in India. "I was born in Karachi, which was undivided India in 1936. And then my dad was Chief of Police, my mom was a housewife."

When India was divided, her family moved to New Dheli. There she married and hobnobbed with some very famous people. "The Prince and Princess of Japan, who are now Emperors, Queen Elizabeth, Marshal Tito."

She came to America in 1964 as a Fulbright Scholar, and was assigned to teach at Riverview High School. Her husband and daughter soon followed.

They were the only people from India on the Suncoast. She came for a year, but her stay was extended because she was such a gifted science teacher.

She did return to India to teach for a couple of years; and there she met Mother Theresa. "We sat and talked, talked about poverty around the world, lack of education, lack of health care."

Then she returned to the Suncoast, taught at Bayshore Middle and Bayshore High schools and worked to get more young girls interested in science and math. "Governor Lawton Chiles appointed me to the Florida Commission on the Status of Women, then later an appointment on the Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women."

It's a cause close to her heart. "I have always been interested in gender equality. So when I came to this country I was really surprised, because in India, 50% of the women were scientists or doctors. And here you hardly heard any girls going for sciences."

Her life work is to inspire young women to reach higher. "They can do anything they want to. They have to work hard and persevere sometimes. When hard times come, we give up, but there is always a way."