10 Most Inspirational Indian Women
1. Indra Nooyi
When she became the Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson of PepsiCo, the world’s second-largest food and beverage company, Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi etched her name in the annals of international business. In 2017, she was ranked 11th on Forbes’ list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women and second on Fortune’s list of the World’s Most Powerful Women. She joined PepsiCo in 1994 and has overseen the company’s international planning for the past decade.
2. Arundhati Roy
Arundhati Roy, who won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 1997 for her debut novel, The God of Small Things, has worn many hats throughout her life. She studied architecture before writing screenplays for a couple of Indian short films and acting. Following that, she became involved in social activism, for which she received criticism for her support of contentious causes. Despite the disagreements, Arundhati has a large fan base and is well respected for her literary reputation as well as her support for environmental and humanitarian causes.
3. Mary Kom
Chungneijang is the woman who stormed into the international amateur boxing scene from a remote village in North East India. Mary Kom Hmangte, also known as Mary Kom, pioneered women’s boxing in India. She is a five-time World Amateur Boxing Championship winner and the only woman boxer to win a medal in each of the six world competitions. She rose from humble beginnings to become a world champion through hard work and determination, having returned to professional boxing after a break from marriage and motherhood.
4. Seema Rao
This lovely lady has accomplished something that no other Indian woman has done so far. Seema Rao is the country’s first female commando trainer, shattering stereotypes. She is also a professional medical doctor with an MBA in crisis management. She has trained over 15,000 soldiers in close-quarter battles with her husband, Major Deepak Rao. To top it all off, she is one of only ten women in the world who have studied Jeet Kune Do, a martial arts style developed by Bruce Lee. Is it any surprise that she is dubbed “India’s Wonder Woman”?
5. Kiran Bedi
When she was chosen as the first woman to join the Indian Police Service, she became a beacon of light for women all over the country. Over the course of her 35-year career, she was able to implement numerous reforms while also helping to reduce the number of crimes against women. Kiran Bedi went on to achieve international acclaim after being appointed as a Policy Advisor to the Secretary-General of the United Nations in 2003. She has remained a public figure in the aftermath of her voluntary resignation, as an audacious writer and fearless social activist.
6. Sushma Swaraj
Sushma Swaraj, one of the most powerful women in Indian politics, rose to the position of India’s Minister of External Affairs, becoming only the second woman to do so after the late Indira Gandhi. She began her career as an advocate in India’s Supreme Court. Her political career began with a bang when, at the age of 25, she became India’s youngest cabinet minister, a record that has yet to be broken. The public’s admiration for her has only grown since then, as she has been instrumental in rescuing numerous Indian expatriates from crisis situations all over the world.
7. Laxmi Agarwal
Hers is a story of survival and triumph over fate. Laxmi Agarwal was only 15 years old when her stalker threw acid on her face, disfiguring her for life. The incident did not break her, but rather inspired her to advocate for acid attack survivors like herself. She went on to lead campaigns and petitions against the sale of the phony liquid, and the Supreme Court of India ordered that the central and state governments regulate the sale of acid. In defiance of society’s reverence for a bride’s physical beauty, Laxmi and her partner, Alok Dixit, chose not to marry and instead chose to live together.
8. Sky Warrior-Avani Chaturvedi
Flight Lieutenant Avani Chaturvedi, a young Indian Air Force officer, became the first Indian woman fighter pilot to solo fly the ‘MiG-21 Bison.’ The MiG-21 Bison has the fastest takeoff speed in the world and the fastest takeoff and landing speeds, clocking in at 340 mph. Avani inspired many young women by making a name for herself in a male-dominated field.
9. Biotech Pioneer-Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw founded her own company, Biocon, in 1978. She is now ranked 60th on Forbes’ list of the world’s most powerful women and India’s richest self-made woman billionaire. She is the current Chairperson and Managing Director of Biocon Limited (India’s largest biotechnology and biopharmaceutical company) as well as the Chairperson of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. She is also a member of the Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad, and the Government of India has recognized her achievements by awarding her the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan.
10. Dhing Express-Himar Das
Hima Das became the first Indian athlete (sprint runner) to win gold at the IAAF World Under-20 Athletics Championships in Tampere, Finland, in 2018. Later, at the Asian Games in Jakarta, she won gold and silver medals. She currently holds the Indian national record in the 400 meters, clocking in at 50.79 seconds. Hima Das, the daughter of a humble rice farmer near the Assam town of Dhing, became a national phenomenon at the age of 18. And she won 5 gold medals in 20 days in 2019!
Poznan, July 2: 200m gold (23.65 seconds).
Kunto, July 7: 200m gold (23.97 seconds)
Kladno, July 13: 200m gold (23.43 seconds).