There was a time when women were not allowed to do much; they were considered the weaker sex. Women, especially in India, faced a lot of discrimination and were not allowed to do much. But, in today’s times, there is no shortage of famous female leaders in India. Indian women have come very far, shattering various glass ceilings along the way.
The women who were once considered to be weak and fit only for managing the house are going out and proving their metal in various fields worldwide. India has so many women achievers that it is difficult to name only a few.
Here are 30 successful women’s names in India who have achieved great heights in different fields like politics, arts, business sports, etc. All these women are the best in their fields and have made India proud with their achievements.
List of top women achievers in India
1. Indira Gandhi
When talking about women achievers, it is difficult to have a list without Indira Gandhi on it. The list of popular women in India cannot be complete without her name in it. Renowned for being the first woman Prime Minister of India, Gandhi served her country from 1966 to 1977.
Indira Gandhi was also named the “Woman of the Millennium” in a poll organized by the BBC in 1999.
2. Pratibha Patil
Pratibha Patil, the 12th President of India, was India’s first woman President. She was in the office from July 2007 to July 2012. Patil proved that women, too, can run a country successfully. By far, she is the only woman to have held the office, but we are hoping that this changes soon. She is a big inspiration for all the girls out there.
3. Kiran Bedi
Kiran Bedi is quite famous for all the work she has done for the country throughout the years. She joined the Indian Police Service (IPS) in the year 1972. Kiran became the first woman officer in India and was appointed as the United Nations Civil Police adviser in 2003. She is also a former tennis player, a social activist, and politician who is currently the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry.
4. Justice M. Fathima Beevi
Justice M. Fathima Beevi was the first female judge to be appointed to the Supreme Court of India in the year 1989. She was one of the first Muslim women to be appointed to any of the country’s higher judiciaries.
After her retirement, Beevi also served as a member of the National Human Rights Commission. She has also served the country as the Governor of the state of Tamil Nadu. It goes on to prove that women are no less in any aspect of life.
5. Indu Malhotra
In 2018, the Supreme Court of India saw a new woman judge in Justice Indu Malhotra. Indu became the first-ever woman to be raised directly from the Bar. She is only the second woman to have held the post of a Senior Advocate at S.C. The third edition of ‘The Law and Practice of Arbitration and Conciliation’ was authored by her.
6. Avani Chaturvedi
Flying Officer Avani Chaturvedi holds a remarkable position in history. She becomes the first Indian woman fighter pilot in India to fly solo.
Avani became an inspiration for many young women in India by flying the MiG-21 Bison. It is an aircraft that is known to have the highest take-off and landing speed in the world.
7. Gunjan Saxena
Flight Lieutenant Gunjan Saxena is a former helicopter pilot and an Indian Air Force officer. Most of you might know about her because of the recently made film based on her life. Gunjan joined the IAF in 1994 and is a Kargil War veteran. She was the only woman who had been a part of the Kargil War. It made her the first woman IAF officer to go to war. What a great honor it would have been for her.
8. Kalpana Chawla
Kalpana Chawla has made all of India proud with her achievements. She is the first Indian woman to have gone to space as a mission specialist and a primary robotic arm operator with NASA. Several universities, streets, and institutions have been named to honor her life and achievements. She is genuinely regarded as a national hero in India and has been an inspiration to many.
9. Arunima Sinha
Arunima is the first female amputee to climb atop Mount Everest. Apart from this remarkable feat, she is also the first Indian amputee to climb the mountain. Hers is a story that is full of inspiration. She used to be a national level volleyball player who was pushed from a moving train by thieves in 2011 as she was trying to resist them.
Unfortunately, one of her legs had to be amputated below the knee due to an accident. She is truly an achiever that India is proud of.
10. Deepa Malik
Deepa Malik is an athlete and the first Indian woman to win a medal in the Paralympic Games. In the 2016 Summer Paralympics, she won a Silver medal in the shot put category. She has also won gold in the F-53/54 Javelin event at the para-athletic Grand Prix held in Dubai in the year 2018. Deepa Malik is currently the world number one in the F-53 category.
11. Harshini Kanhekar
Harshini Kanhekar is the proud holder of the title of India’s first female firefighter. She believes in breaking barriers and making history. She has been successful in doing so. Harshini became the first-ever woman to have gotten admitted to National Fire Service College in Nagpur. She is an inspiration to all women who want to take up a different path.
12. Gita Gopinath
Gita Gopinath is the first Indian woman that has been appointed as the chief economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF). She is only the second Indian after economist Amartya Sen to get a permanent membership at Harvard’s Economics Department.
Not many people know that Gita Gopinath has also worked with the Chief Minister of Kerala in the capacity of an Economic Adviser.
13. Arundhati Bhattacharya
Arundhati Bhattacharya is the first woman to become the Chairperson of State Bank of India (SBI) and the first person to get an extension after retirement in the 150-year-old firm. Arundhati has even made it to the Forbes list of 25 most powerful women in the world. It is quite a magnificent feat, indeed.
14. Indra Nooyi
Indra Nooyi is an Indian-American business executive who has worked with quite a few well-known firms. She was the chief executive officer and former chairman of PepsiCo.
Nooyi has frequently ranked among the world’s 100 most powerful women. She is a board member of the International Cricket Council and Amazon.
15. Dhivya Suryadevara
Dhivya was appointed as the first female CFO by General Motors and made it to Fortune Magazine’s 40 Under 40 list. Dhivya did her MBA from Harvard Business School. At General Motors, she displayed her excellent leadership skills during several essential deals.
16. Padmasree Warrior
Padmasree is known as the “Queen of the Electric Car Biz” by Fortune magazine. This former Cisco Chief Technology Officer made it to Forbes’ list of America’s Top 50 Women in Tech. Padmasree had earlier studied chemical engineering at IIT Delhi. Warrior is a highly coveted public speaker.
Padmasree is regarded as the thought leader who shaped the industry vision of “seamless mobility” for next-generation communications.
17. Shaheen Mistri
Shaheen Mistri founded the first Akanksha Centre in the year 1989. When she did so, she enrolled 15 children and employed her college friends as volunteers. At present, her brainchild, Teach For India, educates more than 30,000 children spreading across seven cities.
Her initiative is building, in parallel, a force of leaders who are committed to inspiring, demonstrating, and catalyzing systemic change.
18. Komal Mangtani
Komal is one of the most influential female software engineers in the world. She is a senior director at Uber. Her rise and work at Uber landed her a spot in the Forbes’ list of America’s Top 50 Women in Tech.
19. Debjani Ghosh
Debjani is a strong advocate of women occupying leadership positions, and Nasscom found its first woman head in her. Ghosh has worked with Intel in the past. She spent almost two decades with the I.T. firm as a Managing Director for South Asia and as an angel investor in several startup companies.
20. Mary Kom
Mary Kom is one of India’s most famous female boxers who created history after winning six gold medals in the World Boxing Championships. Mary Kom belongs to a small town in Manipur.
She has become India’s favorite sportsperson after proving her metal at several International platforms. A Bollywood movie starring Priyanka Chopra has also been made based on her life.
21. Hima Das
Hima Das has famously earned the nickname, the Dhing Express. She is a sprinter from Assam’s Indian state, who currently holds the Indian national record in 400 meters. Her timing was of 50.79 s. She clocked this at the 2018 Asian Games that were held in Jakarta, Indonesia.
22. Manika Batra
Manika Batra is an Indian table tennis player. As of January 2019, Manika is the top-ranked female table tennis player in India. She is ranked 47th for table tennis in the world. She specializes in playing long-pimples on her backhand. It is a kind of rubber which is not very commonly used by top players.
23. Aruna Reddy
Budda Aruna Reddy is a female artistic gymnast. She represents India at various international competitions. Aruna won a bronze medal in the 2018 World Cup Gymnastics in women’s vault event held in Melbourne. She has created history by becoming the first Indian to secure a medal at Gymnastics World Cup.
24. Mithali Raj
Mithali Dorai Raj is an Indian cricketer and the captain of the Indian women’s national cricket tea, often regarded as India’s greatest batswoman.
Mithila is a right-handed opening batter. She is the record holder for being the highest run-scorer in women’s international cricket. Mithali surpassed the 6,000 run mark in Women’s One Day International matches and is the only female cricketer to achieve this milestone. She has proved that cricket is not just a men’s sport. Women, too, can play it and excel at it.
25. Sania Mirza
Sania Mirza is a well-known professional tennis player who is an inspiration to many girls in India. A former doubles world No. 1, she has won six Grand Slam titles throughout her career. She was ranked as India’s No one player by the Women’s Tennis Association for almost ten years.
She held this position from the year 2003 until she retired from singles in 2013.
26. Saina Nehwal
Saina Nehwal is a badminton singles player who has won over 24 international titles, including eleven Super-series titles. Although she became the world’s 2nd in 2009, it was only in 2015 that she could attain the world no. 1 ranking. Saina Nehwal is the only female player from India to achieve this feat.
27. Bhakti Sharma
Bhakti Sharma is an Open water swimmer who became the first Asian woman and the youngest in the world to do what she has done. Bhakti set a record in open swimming in the cold Antarctic waters. Sharma swam for 1.4 miles in 41.14 minutes, at a temperature of 1 °C. She broke the record of Lynne Cox and Lewis Pugh by doing so.
28. Mira Nair
Mira Nair is an Indian-American filmmaker based out of New York City. She runs her own production company called Mirabai Films. Her works specialize in making films for international audiences that are based on Indian society. The subject matter for her films dwells into the economic, social, or cultural spheres of the Indian culture. She is awarded as one of the best filmmakers of our time.
29. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an Indian-American author and poet. She holds the position of the professor of Writing at the University of Houston Creative Writing Program. Two of her novels have even been adapted into films. Not a lot of people know this; Divakaruni is a co-founder and former President of Maitri. She founded a helpline in 1991 for the aid of South Asian women dealing with domestic abuse.
30. Kiran Desai
Kiran Desai is an Indian author famous for her literary works. Her renowned novel The Inheritance of Loss is one of the most famous works by her. The book won the Man Booker Prize in 2006 and the National Book Critics Circle Fiction Award. In January 2015, The Economic Times named her one of 20 “most influential” global Indian women.
These 30 names are a few of the top global Indian women achievers. There are many more women who are achieving great things in life and making a name for themselves. These women have worked hard in their respective fields and have carved a niche for themselves globally. Their achievements are truly inspirational, be it in sports or business. They have proven that a woman can do anything if she sets her mind to it. May this list continue to inspire people from all over the country.