There are thousands of women who serve as role models to the world, not only because of their calm and composed demeanor when they interact with people, but also because of the exemplary work they do and the in-numerous credits and accolades they have under their belt. The status of women in india have been subjected to many great changes. Promotion of equal rights for women to becoming incharge of high offices including that of the President, Prime Minister, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Leader of the Opposition, Union Ministers, Chief Ministers, Governors, head, manager & M.D. of MNCs and bank. Their history and journey has been eventful.
Today on the occasion of women’s day lets recall some of the most influential women of India and let them inspire us more and take us to the way of working and fulfilling our dreams. Here is a list of women who have defied norms, fought against the society and have achieved great heights in their respective fields and continue to inspire us throughout generations.
1) Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw
An Indian billionaire entrepreneur born in 1953. She is the chairperson and managing director of Biocon Limited, a biotechnology company based in Bangalore, India and the chairperson of Indian Institute of Management Bangalore.She has been awarded the Othmer Gold Medal, for outstanding contributions to the progress of science and chemistry.
- She was awarded the Padma Shri in 1989 and the Padma Bhushan in 2005 from the government of India.
- She is on the Financial Times’ top 50 women in business list. She was listed as the 85th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes in 2015, 77th in 2016, & 71st in 2017.
- In 2004, Mazumdar-Shaw started a corporate social responsibility wing at Biocon, the Biocon Foundation. The Foundation focuses on the areas of health, education and infrastructure, especially in rural areas of Karnataka which lack healthcare facilities.
- In 2015, she joined The Giving Pledge, promising that at least half of her wealth will be dedicated to philanthropy. She prefers the term “compassionate capitalist” over “philanthrophy” , believing that it often provides temporary fixes rather than changing underlying conditions. The death of her best friend and illnesses of her husband and her mother with cancer, motivated her to establish a 1,400-bed cancer care centre.
Her father, Rasendra Mazumdar, was the head brewmaster at United Breweries and suggested her daughter that she should study fermentation science, and train to be a brewmaster, a very non-traditional field for a woman. After her studies and work at various places when she investigated the possibility of further work in Bangalore or Delhi, she was told that she would not be hired as a master brewer in India because “It’s a man’s work.” Leslie Auchincloss founder of Biocon Biochemicals Limited, of Cork, Ireland was looking for an Indian entrepreneur to help establish an Indian subsidiary and Mazumdar agreed to undertake the job. What began as its operations in India in the garage of Kiran’s rented house in Bengaluru in 1978, today is ruling the biotechnology scene in India. And the rest is a huge success story.
2) Mallika Srinivasan
The Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of Tractors and Farm Equipment (TAFE) Limited, a tractor major incorporated in 1960 at Chennai, India was born in 1959. In a traditionally male-dominated business of tractors manufacturing, Mallika srinivasan heads the TAFE. Under her leadership, the company’s turnover grew from Rs 86 crore in 1985 to Rs 5,800 in the year 2011 making it the second largest tractor manufacturing company in India and third largest in the world. TAFE rose to the second number position after she made the smart move of acquiring Eicher motors in 2005. She has received several accolades and awards.
- She has an abiding interest in ensuring development of education and healthcare in India and has been instrumental in supporting organisations such as the Sankara Nethralaya (A leading eye care organisation), the Cancer Hospital in Chennai and a number of educational and healthcare facilities in Alwarkurichi, Tirunelveli district in South India.
- She was selected as Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young in 2005.
- Woman Leader of the Year award by Forbes India.
- Second among India’s Most Powerful Women in Business by Fortune India.
- Padma Shri for Trade and Industry by Government of India in 2014.
A university gold-medalist in Econometrics, graduated as a member of the Dean’s Honour List has an abiding interest in ensuring development of education and healthcare in India and has been instrumental in supporting organisations for a leading eye care organisation and the Cancer Hospital and a number of educational and healthcare facilities.
3) Laxmi Agarwal
An Indian campaigner with Stop Acid Attacks and a TV host born in 1990 speaks for the rights of acid attack victims. She was attacked in 2005 at a age of 15, by a 32-year-old man whose advances she had rejected. She advocated against acid attacks through gathering 27,000 signatures for a petition to curb acid sales. Her petition led the Supreme Court to order the central and state governments to regulate the sale of acid. She succeeded on most counts. But, unfortunately, the ground reality still remains the same.
Acid attacks are rampant in India and women are always the victims. The victims, with scarred bodies and faces, often blinded and scared to death, dread venturing out of the house. Laxmi Agarwal refused to let her disfigured face and inner demons ruin her life. She battled stigma not only to put her life back on track but also championed rights of fellow acids attack victims as well.
- She is the director of Chhanv Foundation, a NGO dedicated to help the survivors of acid attacks in India.
- Laxmi received the International Women of Courage award by US First Lady Michelle Obama in 2014.
- She was chosen as the NDTV Indian of the Year.
along with other acid attack survivors started a hunger strike demanding immediate justice and rehabilitation for acid attack survivors. Laxmi started her career as a campaigner with Stop Acid Attacks campaign. She worked as a campaign coordinator in initial days. Soon, Laxmi became a voice of the survivors of Acid Attacks across world. She prefers being called a survivor and not a victim.
4) Indra Krishnamuthy Nooyi
Born in 1955, to a Tamil-speaking Brahmin family in Chennai, Tamil Nadu an Indian-American business executive and the current Chairwoman and Chief executive Officer of PepsiCo, the second largest food and beverage industry business in the world by net revenue. She has been a consistent name in the Forbes World’s 100 most powerful women. She has proved herself to be one of the world’s best businesswoman by creating jobs, improving business and making healthier food. An inspiration to many, this IIM graduate is making our country proud in the world of business.
- Nooyi was named one of the “25 Greatest Global Living Legends” by NDTV in 2013.
- She was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the President of India in 2007.
- Forbes magazine ranked Nooyi on the 2008 through 2017 lists of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.
5) Sania Nehwal
Nehwal is another well-known badminton star from India, who was number two worldwide in 2010.
- Nehwal became the first Indian woman to win a medal (bronze) at the 2012 London Olympics.
- In her kitty are winning the World Junior Badminton Championships and the Super Series tournament, by clinching the Indonesia Open in 2009.
- Arjuna Award, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award and the Padma Shri are some of prestigious accolades she has received.
In a country where cricket is the only sport highlighted the most, she became the highest-paid non-cricketing sportsperson. Her unrelenting success and indefatigable dedication has inspired a lot of youngsters to ditch the cricket bat and take the badminton racket, bringing a much needed change in the attitude of people towards sports.
6) Deepika Padukone
The sweet, beautiful, composed, charismatic, fascinating & poised actress with over 18 million followers on Instagram, born in 1986 arrived on the scene with the hit flick Cocktail. She had earned plaudits earlier for her acting skills in other movies, but Cocktail earned her stardom. Her popularity soared as she bagged lead roles one after another in highly successful movies. And to top it all she debuted in Hollywood too, with the movie xXx Xander’s Cage, starring opposite international star Vin Diesel.
Deepika is also one of the highest paid actresses, globally. But it does not stop there. A depression survivor, she is a champion of mental health. She founded Live, Love, Laugh foundation with her counsellor and psychiatrist to generate awareness about mental health and reduce the stigma surrounding it.
Deepika has three Filmfare Awards, has written opinion columns and has been involved with women’s health and fitness magazines. She has designed her own line of clothing for women and has also supports charitable organisations.
So i would like to wish a very Happy women’s day
to all the women reading this and enjoy your day. Do not let others be the decision maker in your life rather do what you want to and live your life on your own conditions. These were some of the famous Indian women who has inspired a generation. If you know any other women who is inspiring you then do share with us.