Who says that girls cannot do anything, you should know that girls have created history if you are a girl or not, but if you want to do something better in your life, then you can do just the courage to do something.
Year after year, gutsy, bright, and indomitable women from all over India are making it big and achieving grand success in diverse fields. They make the country proud with their amazing achievements. They smashed the proverbial glass ceiling with sheer grit and show to the world that if they want it with all hearts they can get it at any cost in any field, be it science, sports, business, cinema, literature, art, civil services, police services or any other field. Below, you can find the list of the most inspiring women of India. Even though there are several women deserving of great honor in their respective fields, these names have made a lasting impression in our minds. Owing to their incredible efforts, and struggle, these women have broken through the set stereotypes and created concrete legacies of their own. Their achievements and success are not limited to themselves rather they have paved the way for other women and also inspiring millions of other people.
Savitribai Phule (3 January 1831 – 10 March 1897) was an Indian social reformer, educationalist, and poet from Maharashtra. She is regarded as the first female teacher of India. Along with her husband, Jyotirao Phule, she played an important and vital role in improving women’s rights in India....Read More
Lakshmibai, the Rani of Jhansi (19 November 1828 – 18 June 1858), was an Indian queen of the Maratha princely state of Jhansi in North India currently present in Jhansi district in Uttar Pradesh, India. She was one of the leading figures of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and became a symbol of resistance to the British Raj for Indian nationalists.
Kalpana Chawla (March 17, 1962 – February 1, 2003) was an American astronaut, engineer, and the first woman of Indian origin to go to space. She first flew on Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997 as a mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator. In 2003, Chawla was one of the seven crew members...Read More
Tarabai Bhonsale (1675 – 9 December 1761) was the regent of the Maratha Empire of India from 1700 until 1708. She was the queen of Chhatrapati Rajaram Bhonsale, daughter-in-law of the empire’s founder Shivaji and mother of Shivaji II. She is acclaimed for her role in keeping alive the resistance...Read More
Sindhutai Sapkal is an Indian social worker and social activist known particularly for her work in raising orphaned children in India. She was conferred the Padma Shri in 2021 in Social Work category.
Sapkal was born on 14 November 1948 in a cattle grazing family in Maharashtra’s Wardha...Read More
Mithali Dorai Raj (born 3 December 1982) is an Indian cricketer and Test, ODI Captain of women’s national cricket team. She is a right-handed opening Batswoman and occasional right-arm leg break bowler. She is the highest run-scorer in women’s international cricket and the only female...Read More
Tessy Thomas (born April 1963) is an Indian scientist and Director General of Aeronautical Systems and the former Project Director for Agni-IV missile in Defence Research and Development Organisation. She is the first ever woman scientist to head a missile project in India.
Saina Nehwal (born 17 March 1990) is an Indian professional badminton singles player. A former world no. 1, she has won over 24 international titles, which includes eleven Superseries titles. Although she reached the world’s 2nd in the 2009, it was only in 2015 that she was able to attain the...Read More
Hima Das (born 9 January 2000), nicknamed the Dhing Express, is an Indian sprinter from the state of Assam. She holds the current Indian national record in 400 metres with a timing of 50.79 s that she clocked at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. She is the first Indian athlete to win a gold medal in a track event at the IAAF World U20 Championships..
Flight Lieutenant Avani Chaturvedi (born 27 November 1993) is an Indian pilot from Rewa district, Madhya Pradesh. She was declared as the first woman combat pilot along with two of her cohorts, Mohana Singh Jitarwal, and Bhawana Kanth. The trio was inducted into the Indian Air Force fighter squadron in June 2016. They were formally commissioned by then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on 18th June 2016, to serve the nation.
Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi ( 19 November 1917 – 31 October 1984) was an Indian politician and a central figure of the Indian National Congress. She was the first and, to date, only female Prime Minister of India. Indira Gandhi was the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India....Read More
Kiran Bedi (born 9 June 1949) is an Indian politician, retired police officer, social activist and former tennis player, who was the 24th Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry from 28 May 2016 to 16 February 2021. She is the first Indian female to become an officer in the Indian Police Service and started her service in 1972. She remained in service for 35 years before taking voluntary retirement in 2007 as Director General, Bureau of Police Research and Development.
Laxmi Agarwal (born 1 June 1990) is an Indian acid attack survivor, a campaigner for rights of acid attack victims, and a TV host. Laxmi Agarwal was attacked in 2005 in New Delhi at the age of 15, after rebuffing the romantic advances of Naeem Khan. Her story, among others, was told in a series on...Read More
Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom (born 24 November 1982) is an Indian amateur boxer, politician, and incumbent Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha. She is the only female to become World Amateur Boxing champion for a record six times, the only female boxer to have won a medal in each one of the first seven...Read More
Sania Mirza (born 15 November 1986) is an Indian professional tennis player. A former doubles world No. 1, she has won six Grand Slam titles in her career. From 2003 until her retirement from singles in 2013, she was ranked by the Women’s Tennis Association as India’s No. 1 player. Throughout...Read More
Shakuntala Devi (4 November 1929 – 21 April 2013) was an Indian mathematician, writer and mental calculator, popularly known as the “Human Computer”. Devi strove to simplify numerical calculations for students. Her talent earned her a place in the 1982 edition of The Guinness Book of...Read More
Sarojini Naidu (née Chattopadhyay; 13 February 1879 – 2 March 1949) was an Indian political activist and poet. A proponent of civil rights, women’s emancipation, and anti-imperialistic ideas, she was an important figure in India’s struggle for independence from colonial rule. Naidu’s...Read More
Kanaklata Barua (22 December 1924 – 20 September 1942), also called Birbala and Shaheed (martyr), was an Indian independence activist and AISF leader who was shot dead by the British police while leading a procession bearing the National Flag during the Quit India Movement of 1942.
Pratibha Devisingh Patil (born 19 December 1934) is an Indian politician who served as the 12th President of India from 2007 to 2012. A member of the Indian National Congress, Patil is the only woman to have held the office. She previously served as the Governor of Rajasthan from 2004 to 2007.
Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit (18 August 1900 – 1 December 1990) was an Indian diplomat and politician who was elected as the first female president of the United Nations General Assembly. Hailing from a prominent political family, her brother Jawaharlal Nehru was the first Prime Minister of independent...Read More
Saalumarada Thimmakka, also known as Aalada Marada Timakka, is an Indian environmentalist from the state of Karnataka, noted for her work in planting and tending to 385 banyan trees along a four-kilometre stretch of highway between Hulikal and Kudur. She has also planted nearly 8000 other trees. With...Read More
Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi (31 March 1865 – 26 February 1887) was the first Indian female practitioner of western medicine, alongside Kadambini Ganguly. She was the first woman from the erstwhile Bombay presidency of India to study and graduate with a two-year degree in western medicine in the United States. She was also referred to as Anandibai Joshi and Anandi Gopal Joshi (where Gopal came from Gopalrao, which is her husband’s first name).
Prem Mathur is the first Indian woman commercial pilot and started flying for Deccan Airways. She obtained her commercial pilot’s licence in 1947. In 1949, she won the National Air Race.
Mathur was rejected by eight airlines before she got a job at Deccan Airways in Hyderabad in 1947....Read More
Arunima Sinha is an Indian mountain climber and sportswoman. She is a seven time India women’s national volleyball team player, mountaineer and the World’s first female amputee to scale Mount Everest, Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), Mount Elbrus (Russia), Mount Kosciusko (Australia), Mount...Read More
Raziya al-Din (r. 1236–1240), popularly known as Razia Sultana, was a ruler of the Delhi Sultanate in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent. She is notable for being the first female Muslim ruler of the Indian Subcontinent.
A daughter of Mamluk Sultan Shamsuddin Iltutmish, Razia administered...Read More
Bachendri Pal (born 24 May 1954) is an Indian mountaineer, who in 1984 became the first Indian woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest. She was awarded the third highest civilian award Padma Bhushan by Government of India in 2019.
Akka Mahadevi (c.1130–1160) was one of the early female poets of the Kannada literature and a prominent person in the Lingayatism sect of Hinduism in the 12th century. Her 430 extant Vachana poems (a form of spontaneous mystical poems), and the two short writings called Mantrogopya and the Yogangatrividhi...Read More
Rudrama Devi (Rudradeva Maharaja, Rudramadevi, Rani Rudrama or Rudrama-devi), was a monarch of the Kakatiya dynasty in the Deccan Plateau from 1263-1289 (or 1295) until her death. She was one of the very few women to rule as monarchs in India and promoted a male image in order to do so. This was a significant change and one that was followed by her successor and also by the later Vijayanagara Empire.
Neerja Bhanot, Ashoka Chakra (7 September 1963 – 5 September 1986) was an Indian head purser who died while saving passengers on Pan Am Flight 73 which had been hijacked by terrorists during a stopover in Karachi, Pakistan, on 5 September 1986, just two days before her 23rd birthday. Posthumously,...Read More
Vandana Luthra (born 12 July 1959) is an Indian entrepreneur and the founder of VLCC Health Care Ltd, a beauty and wellness conglomerate represented in Asia, the GCC and Africa. She is also the chairperson of the Beauty & Wellness Sector Skill Council (B&WSSC), an initiative that provides training under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana scheme.
Seema Rao, sometimes referred to as India’s Wonder Woman, is India’s first woman commando trainer, having trained Special Forces of India for over two decades without compensation. She is an expert in close quarter battle (CQB) — the art of fighting in tight proximity — and is involved in training various Indian forces. She works in partnership with Major Deepak Rao, her husband.
Sushma Swaraj ( 14 February 1952 – 6 August 2019) was an Indian politician and a Supreme Court lawyer. A senior leader of Bharatiya Janata Party, Swaraj served as the Minister of External Affairs of India in the first Narendra Modi government (2014–2019). She was the second woman to hold the office,...Read More
Sultana Chand Bibi (1550–1599 CE) was an Indian Muslim ruler and warrior. She acted as the Regent of Bijapur Sultanate and Ahmednagar Sultanate (in current day Maharashtra. Chand Bibi is best known for defending Ahmednagar against the Mughal forces of Emperor Akbar in 1595.
Aruna Asaf Ali ( Ganguly ) (16 July 1909 – 29 July 1996 ) was an Indian educator, political activist, and publisher. An active participant in the Indian independence movement, she is widely remembered for hoisting the Indian National flag at the Gowalia Tank maidan, Bombay during a Quit India Movement in 1942. Post-independence, she remained active in politics, becoming Delhi’s first Mayor.
Shila Dawre, India’s first woman auto-rickshaw driver. She has been recognised in the Limca Book of Records and conferred with ‘First Ladies’ award. She also dreams to start an academy for women interested in becoming trained auto drivers.
Richa Kar, the owner of an online lingerie brand Zivame. The entrepreneurial journey of Richa Kar wasn’t smooth from the beginning as she gets opposed by her parents. Richa says that her father did not understand what work she wanted to do.
Justice Anna Chandy (1905-1996), also known as Anna Chandi, was the first female judge (1937) and then High Court judge (1959) in India. She was, in fact, one of the first female judges in the British Empire next to Emily Murphy.
Anna Chandy was born in 1905, in the erstwhile kingdom of Travancore...Read More
Medha Patkar (born 1 December 1954) is an Indian social activist working on various crucial political and economic issues raised by tribals, dalits, farmers, labourers and women facing injustice in India. She is an alumnus of TISS, a premier institute of social science research in India.
Gita Gopinath (born 8 December 1971) is an Indian American economist who has been the Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund since 2019. In that role she is the Director of IMF’s Research Department and the Economic Counsellor of the Fund. She is on leave of public service from the...Read More
Kittur Chennamma (23 October 1778 – 21 February 1829) was the Indian queen (rani) of Kittur, a princely state in present-day Karnataka. She led an armed rebellion against the British East India Company in 1824 in defiance of the doctrine of lapse in an attempt to maintain Indian control over the...Read More
Sarla Thukral (1914 – 15 March 2008) was the first Indian woman to fly an aircraft. Born in 1914, she earned an aviation pilot license in 1936 at the young age of 21 and flew a Gypsy Moth solo. She had a four-year-old daughter. After obtaining the initial licence, she persevered and completed one...Read More
Irom Chanu Sharmila (born 14 March 1972), also known as the “Iron Lady of Manipur” or “Mengoubi” (“the fair one”) is a civil rights activist, political activist, and poet from the Indian state of Manipur, which is located on the north-eastern side of India. On 5...Read More
Usha Mehta (25 March 1920 – 11 August 2000) was a Gandhian and freedom fighter of India. She is also remembered for organizing the Congress Radio, also called the Secret Congress Radio, an underground radio station, which functioned for few months during the Quit India Movement of 1942. In 1998, the Government of India conferred on her Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award of Republic of India.
Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay (3 April 1903 – 29 October 1988) was an Indian social reformer and freedom activist. She was most remembered for her contribution to the Indian independence movement; for being the driving force behind the renaissance of Indian handicrafts, handlooms, and theatre in independent India; and for upliftment of the socio-economic standard of Indian women by pioneering the co-operation.
Indu Malhotra is a retired judge and senior counsel of the Supreme Court of India. She was the second woman to be designated as Senior Advocate by the Supreme Court. She also authored the third edition of The Law and Practice of Arbitration and Conciliation (2014).
Sunitha Krishnan (born 1972) is an Indian social activist and chief functionary and co-founder of Prajwala, a non-governmental organization that rescues, rehabilitates and reintegrates sex-trafficked victims into society.
Krishnan works in the areas of anti-human trafficking and social policy....Read More
Jahanara Begum ( 23 March 1614 – 16 September 1681) was a Mughal princess and the Padshah Begum of the Mughal Empire from 1631 to 1658 and again from 1668 until her death. She was the eldest child of Emperor Shah Jahan and his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Often referred to simply as Begum Sahib (Princess of Princesses), she was the elder sister of the crown prince, Dara Shikoh, and Emperor Aurangzeb.
Uda Devi was a warrior in the Indian Rebellion of 1857, who fought against the British East India Company. While upper caste histories highlight the resistance contributions of upper caste heroines like Jhansi Rani, the reality was also that the battles for independence from British colonial rule...Read More
M. Fathima Beevi (born 30 April 1927) is a former judge of the Supreme Court of India. Appointed to the apex Court in 1989, she became the first female judge to be a part of the Supreme court of India, and the first Muslim woman to be appointed to any of the higher judiciaries in country. On her retirement from the court, she served as a member of the National Human Rights Commission and later as the Governor of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu from 1997 to 2001.
Arati Saha (née Saha; 24 September 1940 – 23 August 1994) was an Indian Bengali long-distance swimmer, best known for becoming the first Asian woman to swim across the English Channel on 29 September 1959. In 1960, she became the first Indian sportswoman to be awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth...Read More
Reita Faria Powell, (born 23 August 1943) to Goan parents in Bombay (now Mumbai), is an Indian physician, former model and beauty pageant titleholder who won the Miss World title in 1966, making her the first Asian woman to win the event. She is also the first Miss World winner to be qualified as...Read More
Matangini Hazra (17 November 1870 – 29 September 1942) was an Indian revolutionary who participated in the Indian independence movement until she was shot dead by the British Indian police in front of the Tamluk Police Station (of erstwhile Midnapore District) on 29 September 1942. She was affectionately known as Gandhi buri, Bengali for old lady Gandhi.
Lakshmi Sahgal (born Lakshmi Swaminathan) (24 October 1914 – 23 July 2012) was a revolutionary of the Indian independence movement, an officer of the Indian National Army, and the Minister of Women’s Affairs in the Azad Hind government. Sahgal is commonly referred to in India as Captain Lakshmi, a reference to her rank when taken prisoner in Burma during the Second World War.
Aruna Roy (born 26 May 1946) is an Indian political and social activist who founded the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) (“Workers and Peasants Strength Union”) along with Shankar Singh, Nikhil Dey and many others. Roy is known for her clear and vocal stand on the question of Right...Read More
Falguni Nayar is the Founder and CEO of Nykaa, a retail store selling beauty and wellness products. It has products from 1200 plus huge brands like Lakme, Loreal, and has its presence in many states across India.
Sucheta Kripalani (née Mazumdar), (25 June 1908 – 1 December 1974) was an Indian freedom fighter and politician. She was India’s first woman Chief Minister, serving as the head of the Uttar Pradesh government from 1963 to 1967.
She was born in Ambala, Punjab (now in Haryana) into a...Read More
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (born 23 March 1953) is an Indian billionaire entrepreneur. She is the executive chairperson and founder of Biocon Limited and Biocon Biologics Limited, a biotechnology company based in Bangalore, India and the former chairperson of Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. In...Read More
Indra Nooyi (née Krishnamurthy; born October 28, 1955) is an Indian-American business executive and former chairperson and chief executive officer (CEO) of PepsiCo. She has consistently ranked among the world’s 100 most powerful women. In 2014, she was ranked at number 13 on the Forbes list...Read More
Vani Kola is an Indian venture capitalist. She is the founder and managing director of Kalaari Capital, an Indian early stage venture capital firm. She was listed as one of the most powerful women in Indian business by Fortune India in 2014.
Vani Kola was born in 1963 or 1964 in Hyderabad,...Read More
Shobana Chandrakumar Pillai (born 21 March 1970), better known mononymously as Shobana, is an Indian film actress and Bharatanatyam dancer. She acts predominantly in Malayalam language, in addition to Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, Kannada and English language films. She has won two National Film Awards, one Kerala State Film Awards, Kalaimamani in 2011 and numerous other awards.
Mayilamma was an Indian social activist whose claim to fame was the campaign against Coca-Cola Company in Plachimada in Palakkad, Kerala. She belonged to a native tribal community. She was the recipient of the Speak Out award by Outlook magazine and the Sthree Shakthi Award. She is also known as the ‘Plachimada Heroine’.
Joymoti Konwari, was the wife of Tai-Ahom Prince Gadapani (later Supatphaa). She was accorded the honorific Mohiyokhi on account of her heroic endurance of torture until the end, dying at the hands of royalists under Sulikphaa Loraa Roja without disclosing her exiled husband Prince Gadapani’s...Read More
Prabhavatigupta (fl. 405), was queen and regent of the Vakataka dynasty. She was the queen consort of Rudrasena II, and ruled as regent during the minority of her sons, Divakarasena, Damodarasena, and Pravarasena, from 385 until 405. Her father was Chandragupta II, the emperor of the Gupta Empire...Read More
Priya Jhingan is an Indian Army officer and Lady Cadet No 1 and Silver Medalist from the first batch of 25 lady officers who were commissioned in the Indian Army in 1993. Being the daughter of a police officer, Priya initially wanted to join the Indian Police Service but decided to write to the then...Read More
Flight Lt. Harita Kaur Deol (10 November 1971 – 24 December 1996) was a pilot with the Indian Air Force. She was the first woman pilot to fly solo in the Indian Air Force. The flight was on 2 September 1994 in an Avro HS-748, when she was 22 years old. Hailing from Chandigarh in a Sikh family, in...Read More
Durba Banerjee was the first pilot of Indian Airlines in 1956 and the first Indian woman commercial pilot. As a child while growing up Banerjee liked planes and flying, becoming a pilot was her passion. She was the first woman of her times to break stereotypes and venture into this field.
Onake Obavva ( 18th Century) was a brave woman who fought the forces of Hyder Ali single-handedly with a pestle (Onake) in the kingdom of Chitradurga of Karnataka, India. Her husband was a guard of a watchtower in the rocky fort of Chitradurga. In the state of Karnataka, she is celebrated along with Abbakka Rani, Keladi Chennamma and Kittur Chennamma, as the foremost women warriors and patriots. She belonged to the Holayas (Chalavadi) community.
Durgavati Devi popularly known as ‘Durga Bhabhi’ (7 October 1907 – 15 October 1999) was an Indian revolutionary and a freedom fighter. She was one of the few women revolutionaries who actively participated in armed revolution against the ruling British Raj. She is best known for having...Read More