These determined warriors, rocket scientists and young athletes come from different regional and societal backgrounds in the country, and their success glorifies the embedded motto of “unity in nation diversity”.
1. Dr. Tessy Thomas
Thomas, also known as ‘India’s Missile Woman’, comes from a modest background in Kerala and has the privilege of leading the successful launch of the Agni-V missile project, is the first woman in the field to do it. Thomas is a scientist and director general (Aero Systems) at the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO).
The 29-year-old is from India’s northeastern state, Tripura. She happens to be the first Indian gymnast in the country to compete in the Olympics. Karmakar made her Olympic debut in 2016, where she finished 4th in the final.
3. Shanti Devi
In a profession heavily dominated by men, Shanti Devi is a picture of feminine strength in the modern age. Shanti Devi, 55, has worked as a truck mechanic on the chaotic streets of Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar in New Delhi, the nation’s capital, for two decades.
4. Deepa Malik
Besides being the President of the Indian Paralympic Committee, Deepa Malik is the first Indian athlete to win a medal at the Paralympic Games. The latter began her sports career at the age of 30 and won a silver medal at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in the shot put. Later, she also won a gold medal in the javelin event at the Para-Athletic Grand Prix held in Dubai in 2018.
5. Kavita Devi
Former Haryana cop Kavita Devi made history after becoming India’s first female wrestler to compete in the Mae Young Classic event in 2017. Devi made headlines for taking on the popular neo fighter Dakota Kai from Zealand.
6. Usha Kiran
Kiran is the youngest CRPF officer to join the force’s 232 Mahila Battalion in 2014, and after several years of training and service, she became the first woman to be inducted into the commando battalion unit for action Resolved (COBRA) and is currently stationed in the insurgency-affected Bastar of Chhattisgarh.
7. Hima Das
Das, also known as “Dhing Express”, is the first Indian athlete to win a gold medal on track at the IAAF World U20 Championships. The 22-year-old also holds a national record for the 400-meter sprint with a time of 50.79 seconds.
8. Gita Gopinath
Gopinath, an American national, has Indian roots and is an economist by profession. She made the country proud by becoming the first female chief economist at the IMF (International Monetary Fund).
9. Mithali Raj
Also known as ‘Sachin Tendulkar of Indian women’s cricket’, Mithali is the only female batsman in the country to have played over 200 ODI matches. The former India captain is also the leading scorer in women’s international cricket.
10. Avani Chaturvedi
Flight Lieutenant Avani Chaturvedi, from Rewa in Madhya Pradesh, becomes India’s first female pilot to fly a fighter jet solo. Earlier, she was declared the first female fighter pilot along with two of her female colleagues.
11. Mary Kom
Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom became the first woman to win a gold medal for the country at the Olympic boxing tournament. The former MP for Rajya Sabha was a 6-time amateur boxing world champion and recently played in her last Olympics in Tokyo.
12. Garima Arora
Indian chef Garima Arora became the first Indian woman to win a Michelin star in November 2018. The 36-year-old is enjoying huge popularity in Indian homes thanks to the reality show MasterChef India.
13. Arunima Sinha
The Indian mountaineer is the first female amputee in the world to scale the challenging ranges of Mount Everest, Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Elbrus, Mount Kosciusko, Mount Aconcagua, Mount Denali and Mount Vinson. She has also represented the country in volleyball at the international level.
14. Kalpana Chawla
Now, who doesn’t know Kalpana, an Indian-born mechanical engineer and NASA scientist, the first Indian-born woman to travel in space. Chawla made history by flying on the Space Shuttle Columbia as a Mission Specialist in 1997.
15. Saina Nehwal
Indian commuter Saina Nehwal holds multiple accolades in international badminton and is the first Indian woman to rank 1 in the list of top commuters in the world. She also holds 24 international titles as well as 10 Superseries titles.
First Published: November 11, 2022, 04:38 IST