69 Indian SHEROES Who Make Us Proud

Published on 15 Aug 2015 . 12 min read

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TessyThomas – “Indian Missile Women” Tessy Thomas is the first woman scientist from India to lead a major missile project of India.

Anuradha Prakasham  - Who led india’s mom mission “The feeling is like delivering a baby,” Anuradha, perhaps the first woman to head such an ISRO project.

Kadambini Ganguly – She  was one the first two female graduates from India and the entire British Empire. She was also the first South Asian female physician, trained in western medicine, to graduate in South Asia. 

Captain Prem Mathur — the first woman pilot in India.

Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit — the first woman (and first Indian) president of the United Nations General Assembly.

Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay — social activist and Indian freedom fighter.

Chandramukhi Basu – Chandramukhi Basu along with Kadambini Ganguly passed the examination of the bachelor's degree in arts from University of Calcutta, India. Their formal degrees were handed during the convocation of the University in 1883.

Anna Mani – Anna was an Indian physicist and meteorologist. She also worked under Prof CV Raman and eventually became a meteorologist and retired as the Deputy Director General of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). She published several research papers and made significant contributions in the field of meteorological instrumentation

Asima Chatterjee was an Indian chemist noted for her work in the fields of organic chemistry and phytochemistry (chemicals derived from plants)


Kalpana Chawla – The first Indian woman to go to space.

Janaki Ammal – At a time when women were regarded as ornaments of society and were confined to the four walls of their houses, Janaki Ammal certainly broke the stereotype when she pursued a career in scientific research.

Anandibai Joshi – She is the first Indian woman to have obtained a degree in western medicine.

Sunetra Gupta – Sunetra is a novelist and a professor of Theoretical Epidemiology at the University of Oxford. She studies infectious diseases, like the flu and malaria, using mathematical models.

Dr. Indira Hinduja –  She delivered India’s first test tube baby. She has pioneered the gamete intra-fallopian transfer leading to the birth of India’s first GIFT baby.

Sunita Williams – Indian American astronaut Sunita Williams born as Sunita Pandya Krishna to Indian parents in Massachusetts, has set a record for longest space flight by a woman. Apart from this, the 47-year-old also holds the record for number of spacewalks for a female.

Shakuntala Devi – She is a renowned Indian women who also holds Guinness World Record for large numerical calculations

Arundhati Bhattacharya – Bhattacharya, an Indian banker, was the first woman to become the chairperson of the State Bank Of India (SBI). She has also been featured in the Forbes Most Powerful Women list in the 36th slot.

Chanda Kochchar – She has also been honoured with the Padma Bhushan Award in 2010, the third highest civilian honour by the Indian government, for her services to the banking sector.

Indra Nooyi – Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi is the chairperson and CEO of the second largest food and beverage business in the world, Pepsi Co. Nooyi has been a regular in the world's most powerful women lists. She was also named as the third most powerful women in business by Fortune in 2014.

Naina Lal Kidwai – She is an Indian banker and business executive. She is currently the Group General Manager and Country Head of HSBC India.


Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw – Majumdar-Shaw was born in Bangalore to Gujarati parents. She did her Bachelor of Science in Zoology and Biology from Mount Carmel College, Bangalore and did her Master’s in Brewery from Ballart College, Melbourne University, Australia. However, she was not hired in India as it was considered a “man’s field”.

Padamasree Warrior – Cisco grew in influence under her tenure through acquisitions, including six in 2014 and 10 in 2013. She is currently based in San Jose, CA, US. She had previously been the CTO of Motorola Inc. as well, where she worked for 23 years.

Shikha Sharma – Shikha Sharma is Managing Director & CEO, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company Limited.

Debjani Ghosh – She is the Managing Director– Sales and Marketing Group, Intel South Asia. One of Debjani’s key charter and passion is to accelerate the adoption of technology adoption in the region, especially as an enabler of inclusive growth and development.

Chitra Ramakrishna – The shy looking Chitra Ramakrishna is all set to head one of the world's biggest securities exchange boards - National Stock Exchange (NSE). Ramakrishna, a chartered accountant, ensured that NSE became a transparent market ecosystem reaching out to thousands of locations in the country.

Kirthiga Reddy – For the uninitiated, Kirthiga is the India head for Facebook. After Facebook set base in India, the user base for the social network went up to over 40 million from a mere 8 million people in less than 2 years. She, along with her team, took up community initiatives touching the lives of millions of students and also got Facebook to support NGOs like Olympic Gold Quest.

Neelam Dhawan – Neelam Dhawan has been serving as the Managing Director of Hewlett-Packard India, which is popularly known as HP, an IT company that operates worldwide since 2008. She is a software engineer, having a portfolio of research and IT services. Prior to joining HP India, she was the MD of Microsoft Corporation (India) Pvt. Ltd and Vice President of the Customer Solutions Group at HP and served at Compaq and IBM as well. She is the first Indian woman to become the MD of HP India, which is sure to motivate the young girls of the country to fulfill their dreams. She has definitely made us proud with her achievements.

Sita Sahu – Sprinter Sita Sahu won 2 bronze medals at the 2011 Special Olympics in Athens at the young age of 15

Asha Roy – The daughter of a vegetable seller is currently the fastest Indian on the track, setting a record at the National Open Athletics Championship in Kolkata in 2011.

Reena Kaushal Dharmshaktu – Skiing through the deserted and coldest regions in the world, mountaineer and Delhi-based outdoor instructor Reena, along with seven other women, became the first woman to reach the southern most tip of the word, the South Pole, all in 38 days.

Kunjarani Devi – The bespectacled 46-year-old is perhaps the most celebrated Indian woman in weightlifting.        

Sania Mirza – Made of all of the Indians proud by winning Wimbledon Open, 2015, women’s doubles.

Saina Nehwal – Saina Nehwal is an Indian badminton player who is currently ranked No. 2 in the world by Badminton World Federation Women's Singles 2015.

PV Sindhu – Pusarla Venkata Sindhu is an Indian badminton player.

Mithali Raj – She is the first woman from India and Asia to score a double hundred in Tests. She held the record for the highest score in Women's Tests - 214 against England, 2002 - that stood for 19 months.

Bachendri Pal – Bachendri Pal, who was born in a village in Garhwali, belonged to a family with moderate means. As a young girl she went on to become the first woman to graduate in her village. She created a benchmark by getting listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the first Indian women to summit the Mt. Everest.

Mary Kom – The mother of two started competing in the boxing championship in the international level at the young age of 18. Mary Kom, who initially was shy about her interest in boxing, later became the first Indian woman boxer to have qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics and winning the bronze medal. She is a five-time World Boxing champion, and the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the six world championships.

P.T Usha – Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha, who is famously known as P.T Usha, is one of the most successful female athletes that India has ever produced. P.T Usha, who represented India in the 10th Asian Games held at Seoul in 1986, won 4 gold medals and 1 silver medal in the track and field events. She also became the first Indian women to reach the final of an Olympic event by winning her 400m hurdles semi-final.

Karnam Malleswari – At the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, weightlifter Karnam Malleswari marked her place in Olympic and Indian sports history. As she lifted 110 kg in the “snatch” and 130 kg in the “clean and jerk” for a total of 240 kg, she took the bronze medal and became India's first woman to win an Olympic medal.

Chhavi Rajawat Rajawat –  Chhavi is the first woman sarpanch in India with an MBA degree. She ditched a well-paying corporate job with one of India's biggest telecom firms to become the sarpanch of Soda, a village 60 kms from Jaipur.

Meera Kumar – The first woman speaker of Lok Sabha.

Sucheta Mazumdar –  Sucheta 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.

Nirupama Rao – She was the first woman full-term foreign secretary in India's history. Handed with the uphill task of transforming Indo-US ties she has become the channel through which all major agreements between the two countries flow.

Durgawati Devi –  She once misguided British police to save Bhagat Singh on a local train journey. This revolutionary women and spy introduced herself as his wife to save him.

Anandibai Joshee – She was one of the first Indian women doctors qualified to practice western medicine

Janaki Ammal – Janaki Ammal decided to pursue Botany, and later scientific research in cytogenetics and phytogeography. 

Matangini Hazra was 73 years old when while participating in an Indian Independence Movement she was shot dead by the British Indian Police. She held the Indian Flag high and kept chanting Vande Mataram while several bullets pierced into her flesh one after another.

Irom Chanu Sharmila – Also called the Iron Lady of Manipur, she holds the record for the longest hunger strike.

Amrita Devi – Way back in 1730, when Indian women had little say even in matters at home, this brave woman fought against the felling of trees by the Maharaja of Jodhpur in Marwar, Rajasthan, by sacrificing her life, along with those of her three daughters.

Mother Teresa – Needs no introduction.

Kiran Bedi –  Kiran Bedi is an Indian politician, social activist, former tennis player and a retired police office

Neeraja Bhanot –A female flight attendant named Neeraja Bhanot sacrificed her life while saving the on board passengers of a hijacked plane by terrorists. She was just 22 years then.

Saalumarada Thimmakka – Love of Nature have made Saalumarada Thimmakka to plant 384 banyan trees along on either sides of a highway that stretched a total length of four kilometres. She and her husband water these trees everyday carrying buckets full of water manually.

Lakshmi Sahgal – Or Captain Lakshmi is an officer and a soldier during the struggle for Independent India. She is one of the founder of “All India Democratic Women’s Association” and played roles like doctor, politician, social activist and many more.

Sunitha Krishnan – Being a Victim of rape at her childhood Sunitha Krishnan transformed herself as a social activist to raise voice against all the immoral things that are being done in our present society against women. Not only this she is working for the rehabilitation of the women suffered sex-trafficking, prostitution back to the normal society.

Laxmi Agarwal – is an Indian campaigner with Stop Acid Attacks and a TV host. She is an acid attack survivor and speaks for the rights of acid attack victims.

Sindhutai Sapkalhas – She devoted her entire life to raising 1050 orphan children. Known as the ‘Mother of Orphans’ she now has 207 son-in-laws, 36 daughter-in-laws and over 1000 grandchildren.

Bhanu Athaiya – She made history when she won the Best Costume Design award at the 55th Annual Academy Awards for Lord Attenborough’s “Gandhi”.

Shereen Bhan – Shereen Bhan is an Indian journalist and news anchor. She is the Delhi Bureau Chief and the Head of CNBC-TV18.

Lata Mangeshkar –  No introduction required.

Jhumpa Lahiri – The famous Indian American author Jhumpa Lahiri was born to Indian immigrants from the state of West Bengal. Lahiri, whose stories mostly deal with the problems in lives of Indian Immigrants, has won many awards, but it was her book ‘Interpreter Of Maladies’ for which she received the 2000 Pulitzer Prize. Her novel ‘The Namesake’ was named the New York Magazine Book of the Year.

Shobhana Bharatiya – She was possibly the youngest and the first woman chairperson of the media house, having inherited it from her father. Bhartia has won the ‘Global Leader of Tomorrow’ award from The World Economic Forum, ‘Outstanding Businesswoman of the Year’ award and the Padma Shri.

Ira Singhal –  IAS Topper, who fought with all the obstacles that came her way.

Tarla Dalal was an Indian food writer, chef, cookbook author and host of cooking shows. Her first cook book, The Pleasures of Vegetarian Cooking, was published in 1974. Since then she wrote over 100 books and sold more than 3 million books.

Amrita Shergil – She was an eminent Indian painter

Amrita Pritam – Amrita was an Indian writer and poet, who wrote in Punjabi and Hindi. She is considered the first prominent woman Punjabi poet, novelist, and essayist, and the leading 20th-century poet.

Krupabai Satthianadhan – She was one of the first Indian women to write in English, and certainly the first woman novelist in English from India.

Fatima Begum – She was one of the earliest actresses in Indian cinema who acted in silent films like “Veer Abhimanyu” (1922). She set up Fatima Films in 1926 and became the first female Indian director with her debut feature “Bulbul-e-Paristan” in the same year.

Jyoti Naik – Stated Lijat papad cooperation

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