We have many women in India who set an example for others and inspire many others to follow in their footsteps. On this occasion of Women’s Day, let us look at ten of them.
1. Geeta Gopinath
Gita Gopinath is a Harvard economist who became the first Indian woman to assume the position of Chief Economist at IMF – the International Monetary Fund. She is originally from Kerala and is the daughter of a farmer-entrepreneur! According to IMF Chief Christine Lagarde, Gopinath is an exceptional economist and a great leader. After Amartya Sen, she is the second Indian to get a permanent membership at Harvard’s Economics Department.
2. Indra Nooyi
Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi is an Indian-American businesswoman and popular for serving as the Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson of PepsiCo. Currently, she is a board member of Amazon. She has consistently ranked among the world’s 100 most powerful women. In 2017, she was ranked the second most powerful woman once more on the Forbes list of The 19 Most Powerful Women in Business.
3. Falguni Nayar
Falguni Nayar is the founder and CEO of Nykaa, the beauty and lifestyle online store. She is now India’s biggest self-made female billionaire as shares of the firm surged to a whopping 89 percent in the last quarter of 2021. Nykaa has ventured into new verticals like Nykaa Fashion – a fashion-first, style-led curated fashion platform.
4. Dr. Tessy Thomas
Dr. Tessy Thomas is the first woman scientist to lead the missile project in India. She is also called Agni Putri for her contributions to Agni-IV. She was associated with the Agni Programme right from its developmental flights. She has designed the guidance scheme for long-range missile systems which is used in all Agni missiles. An energy management guidance scheme was designed and developed for the first time in the country for an all–solid propelled long-range system for which she was awarded the Agni self-reliance award in the year 2001.
5. Arunima Sinha
Arunima Sinha created history by becoming the first female amputee to climb Mount Everest. She scaled not only Mount Everest but also Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), Mount Elbrus (Russia), Mount Kosciusko (Australia), Mount Aconcagua (South America), Carstensz Pyramid (Indonesia), and Mount Vinson. In 2015, the Government of India honored her with the Padma Shri award, the fourth-highest civilian award in India.
6. Gauri Devi
Gauri Devi stands on top when it comes to inspiring women in India because of her contribution to the Chipko Movement or Chipko Andolan in Reni village in the 1970s. Devi along with fellow women staged a protest against cutting down trees. Gauri with local women protested by hugging the trees for over three days against loggers. Later, the government declared the Reni forest ecologically sensitive.
7. Lakshmi Agarwal
This brave acid attack survivor who is a campaigner for the rights of acid attack victims played a crucial role in changing the reforms in the sale of acid in the country. She was awarded the International Women of Courage in 2014. In 2019, she was honored with the International Women Empowerment Award from the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, and UNICEF for her campaign of Stop Acid Sale.
8. Mirabai Chanu
Mirabai Chanu is the symbol of strength in India. This weightlifting champion made her debut at the 2016 Rio Olympics and became the second Indian in 22 years to grab gold at the World Weightlifting Championships after Karnam Malleswari
9. Tulasi Gouda
Also known as the encyclopedia of the forest, Tulasi Gowda was honored by awarding Padma Shri for her contributions and efforts to protect forest cover. This 72-year-old hailing from the Halakki Vokkalu tribal community of Karnataka has planted over 30,000 saplings and has the unique ability to recognize a plant just by a touch.
10. Flight Lt Shivangi Singh
She is the first lady pilot in India to fly a Rafale Jet Plane. She was part of the tableau of the Indian Air Force in the 2022 Republic Day Parade.