The fight for freedom, be it political, societal, or otherwise, has been an ongoing one since aeons. In the age-old, patriarchal, male-dominated society of the world, women’s fight for freedom and equality, has been an equally Herculean one. However, owing to their incredible efforts, and the long struggle that they’ve endured, many women in the professional domain, have today, broken through the glass ceiling, and created legacies of their own. In the process, we have witnessed countless astounding achievements made by women, all through sheer dedication, confidence, and hard work. This International Women’s Day, we take a look at 8 such inspirational women of today, whose achievements and success have paved the way for the modern Indian woman.
1) Zia Mody
Renowned and celebrated for her contributions to the legal world, Zia Mody is one of India’s foremost corporate attorneys, and a founding partner of AZB & Partners. Having worked with the likes of GE, Tata Group, Reliance Industries Ltd., Aditya Birla Group, and the Vedanta Group, she is one of the foremost authorities on corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, securities law, private equity, and project finance.
2) Chanda Kochchar
The MD and CEO of India’s largest private bank, ICICI Bank, Chanda Kochchar was the first Indian woman to receive the prestigious Woodrow Wilson Award for Global Citizenship. Her community outreach program, ICICI Digital Village, provided vocational training to over 11,000 villagers in 17 states in India, and financial tools to aspiring entrepreneurs among them. She is widely renowned for her role in shaping retail banking in India, and taking ICICI bank’s insurance business public, marking the first IPO of a general insurer in India.
3) Anshu Jamsenpa
Juggling her passion for mountaineering and taking care of her two children, Anshu Jamsenpa went on to become the first woman in the world to scale the mighty Mount Everest, twice in one season, in a matter of just 10 days. Additionally, she was also a brand ambassador of the Clean India Campaign during 2012 to 2013, and was also nominated to be the brand ambassador of North East Tourism.
4) Chhavi Rajawat
After completing her MBA from Pune and working with the likes of Times of India, Carlson Group of Hotels, and Airtel, Chhavi Rajawat realised that in order to make a real difference, social media activism wasn’t enough. Quitting her job, she went back to her village, Soda, in Rajashthan’s Tonk district, to become India’s first woman Sarpanch with an MBA degree. Since then, she has been working tirelessly for the betterment of the village, by ensuring the availability of clean water, solar power, paved roads, toilets, and even a bank, to the villagers.
5) Sahiti Pingali
Sahiti Pingali’s research paper on water pollution for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) won her the exceptional honour of having a planet in the Milky Way galaxy named after her, by the Lincoln Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since then, the app she developed for the project has been used to collect data on the frothy lakes of Bangalore, and control the pollution and sewage contamination taking place in them.
6) Tanushree Pareek
Hailing from Bikaner, Rajasthan, Tanushree Pareek created history by becoming the first woman combat officer to be commissioned in the Border Security Force (BSF), in its 51 years of existence. She joined the force after being selected in the all-India exam conducted by the UPSC in 2014. Now, she commands a unit along the India-Pakistan border in Punjab, as part of the country’s largest border guarding force, with a strength of approximately 2.5-lakh.
7) Sarla Thakral
Being the first Indian woman to have flown an aircraft, Sarla Thakral was only 21 years old when she received the license to fly, in 1936. She then went on to complete one thousand hours of flying an aircraft, and became the first woman pilot to obtain an ‘A’ license, besides also being the first Indian to get an airmail pilot’s licence.
8) Seema Rao
Popularly known as India’s Wonder Woman, Seema Rao is India’s first, and only Commando trainer, providing training to the Special Forces of India for over 18 years, without accepting any compensation for it. Besides being an expert combat shooting instructor, a firefighter, a scuba diver, an HMI medalist in rock climbing, and a Mrs India World pageant finalist, she also holds a 7th-degree black belt in military martial arts, and is one of 10 women in the world certified in Jeet Kune Do, a unique martial art form created by Bruce Lee. She also holds a PhD in Philosophy and several degrees in Medicine, making her one of the most formidable Indian women of today.
These exemplary women and their incredible journeys serve as shining examples of everything that we women can achieve, obstacles or hurdles notwithstanding. All we need to do so, is believe in ourselves, and pour our hearts and souls into pursuing our dreams.