Honoring Women From India

Women’s History Month: Honoring Women from India

Women’s History Month: Honoring Women from India

As you probably know, March is Women’s History Month. Desh Videsh Media Group is proud to honor Indian women who have faced tough challenges throughout their lives. Many have achieved the honor of being the first in their fields.

Recognizing the achievements of women in all walks of life – politics, activism, education, sports, medicine, etc. – offers young girls and women all over the world an opportunity to see that change and success are possible. For many, especially in developing and third world countries, strengthened moral, increased self respect, and a forward-thinking vision are possible through the successes of those before them.

Each of the women noted on our list have faced challenges and each has uniquely overcome them. It is our hope that young girls and women growing up in the US get to know and be inspired by these women. Parents – sit down with your children (sons and daughters!) and talk about the importance of choosing role models, while also explaining to them that “Everything is possible if you make up your mind.” As Swami Vivekananda said, “Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached.”

This list is by no means exhaustive. If you notice a name we forgot, please email the name and achievements to info@deshvidesh.com.

In our next post, we will highlight Indian American women who have made significant achievements.

Durga

Banerjee

Captain Durga Banerjee became the first Indian woman pilot of the state airline, Indian Airlines.

Chandramukhi

Basu

Chandramukhi Basu and Kadambini Ganguly were first female graduates of India and the British Empire.

Kiran

Bedi

Joining the Indian Police Service (IPS) in 1972, Kiran Bedi became the first woman officer in India. Moreover, later in 2003, Kiran Bedi also became the first woman who was appointed as the United Nations Civil Police adviser.

Annie

Besant

Besant became the first female president of the Indian National Congress.

Jijabai Shahaji

Bhosale

Mother of the  legendary Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji who was the embodiment of strength and confidence and nurtured his early years with a firm hand and a keen eye. She became a source of inspiration for women all over as one who kindled the heroism in Shivaji making her an epoch making mother who occupies a proud place in shaping the history of the land.

Justice Anna

Chandy

Chandy was the first female judge in India, and the first woman in India to become a High Court judge. (Kerala High Court)

Asima

Chatterjee

Chatterjee was the first Indian woman to receive a Doctorate of Science from an Indian university.

Kamaladevi

Chattopadhyay

A social activist and Indian freedom fighter, Chattopadhyay won the Ramon Magsaysay Award for community leadership.

Avani

Chaturvedi

Chaturvedi was onne of India’s First three women fighter pilots.

Kittur

Chennamma

Chennamma led an armed rebellion against the East India Company.

Harita Kaur

Deol

Flight Lt. Harita Kaur Deol was a pilot in the Indian Air Force. She became the first woman pilot to fly solo in the Indian Air Force in 1994.

Reena Kaushal

Dharmshaktu

Dharmshaktu was the first Indian woman to ski to the South Pole. Her journey took 40 days, 8 to 10 hours per day, traversing 915 kms in bitter cold and to one of the most desolate regions of the world.

Reita

Faria

She was the first Indian beauty to win the coveted Miss World title in 1966.

M.

Fathima Beevi

In 1989, Justice M. Fathima Beevi became the first female judge appointed to the Supreme Court of India.

Indira

Gandhi

She became the first woman Prime Minister of India and served from 1966 to 1977. She was also the first woman to receive the Bharat Ratna award.

Kadambini

Ganguly.

Chandramukhi Basu and Kadambini Ganguly became the first female graduates of India and the British Empire.

Priya

Jhingan

Priyan Jhingan became the first Indian woman to join the Indian Army in 1993.

Anandi Gopal.

Joshi

Anandi Gopal Joshi became the first women from India to be trained in Western medicine.

Bhawana

Kanth

Kanth was one of India’s first three women fighter pilots.

Dhondo Keshav

Karve

The first women’s university, SNDT Women’s University, was founded on June 2, 1916 by the social reformer Dhondo Keshav Karve with just five students.

Mary

Kom

Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom, also known as Mary Kom is the only woman boxer who has won a medal in each of the six World Championships. She was the only Indian woman boxer who qualified for the 2012 Olympics and became the first Indian woman boxer to win a gold medal in Asian Games in 2014.

Sucheta

Kriplani

Sucheta Kriplani became the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, the first woman to hold that position in any Indian state.

Meira

Kuma

Meira Kumar became the first female Speaker of Lok Sabha.

Rani

Lakshmibai

Lakshmibai led a rebellion against the British.

Anna

Malhotra

Anna Rajam Malhotra became the first woman IAS officer of India.

Prem

Mathur

Prem Mathur of Deccan Airways becomes the first Indian woman commercial pilot.

Sania

Mirza

The professional tennis player became the first ever Indian woman to win a Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) title in 2005. Later in 2015, Sania Mirza became the first Indian woman to be ranked no. 1 in WTA’s double rankings.

Sarojini

Naidu

Sarojini Naidu was a poet and politician. Naidu served as the first governor of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh from 1947 to 1949. She was the first woman to become the governor of an Indian state. She was the second woman to become the president of the Indian National Congress in 1925 and the first Indian woman to do so.

Saina

Nehwal

Currently ranking no. 2 in the World, Saina Nehwal became the first Indian to win  a medal in Badminton at Olympics in 2012. Later in 2015, she became the first Indian woman to become no. 1 in World ranking.

Bachendri

Pal

In 1984, Bachendri Pal became the first Indian woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

Vijaya Lakshmi

Pandit

The first woman (and first Indian) president of the United Nations General Assembly.

Pratibha

Patil

She became the first woman President of India and held office from July 2007 to July 2012.

Amruta

Patil

India’s First Woman Graphic Novelist

Savitribai

Phule

Started India’s first school for girls.

Pandita

Ramabai

For her distinguished social service, Pandita Ramabai became the first Indian woman to be awarded the Kaisar-i-Hind Medal by the British Raj.

Archana

Ramasundaram

India’s Head Of A Paramilitary Force, Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB)

Aarti

Saha

India’s First Woman To Swim The English Channel

Captain Lakshmi

Sahgal

Indian independence revolutionary

Kamaljit

Sandhu

Kamaljit Sandhu becomes the first Indian woman to win a Gold in the Asian Games

Leila

Seth

India’s First Woman Chief Justice of a High Court

Mohana

Singh

One of India’s first three women fighter pilots.

M. S.

Subbulakshmi

Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi , also known as M.S., was a renowned Carnatic vocalist. She was the first musician ever to be awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honor. She is the first Indian musician to receive the Ramon Magsaysay award, Asia’s highest civilian award, in 1974.

Suzanne RD

Tata

Suzanne RD Tata becomes the first Indian woman to drive a car.

Sarla

Thakral

Sarla Thakral became the first Indian woman to fly an aircraft.

Surekha

Yadav

Surekha Yadav became the first woman loco-pilot, railway driver, for India and Asia.