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10 Powerful and Greatest Women in Indian History

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10 Powerful and Greatest Women in Indian History

International Women’s Day 2024: Women are an important part of society. Throughout history, they have been suppressed, marginalised, and even abused. However, it is women who have ensured the stability, progress, and long-term development of the world. They make the world a better place to live because of their power, determination, and belief, whether as homemakers, engineers, teachers, etc. 

Every year, International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 to honour the social, economic, and cultural achievements of women in all areas of life. The campaign theme of 2024 is “Invest in women: Accelerate Progress”

She was born on July 16, 1909, in Punjab, British India. She was an Indian educator, political activist, and publisher. She actively participated in the Indian independence movement. During the Quit Indian movement (1942), she is remembered for hoisting the Indian National flag at the Gowalia Tank Maidan, Bombay. This gave her a long-lasting image in the movement. 

She became a member of the Indian National Congress and, during Salt Satyagraha, she participated in public processions. Post-independence, she remained active in politics and became the first Mayor of Delhi. In 1992, she was also awarded the Padma Vibhushan and, in 1997, the Bharat Ratna posthumously.

4. Savitribai Phule

She was born on January 3, 1931, in Naigaon village in Maharashtra. She is counted among the first feminists in India, a pioneering teacher, and an anti-caste discrimination activist. She was the first-ever female teacher in the country. She played a crucial role in women’s empowerment with the support of her husband, Jyotirao Phule. In 1848, Savitribai and her husband established one of the first modern Indian girl’s schools in Pune at Bhide Wada. She was also a prolific Marathi writer.

Read more about Savitribai Phule 

5. Anandi Gopal Joshi

She was born on March 31, 1865 in Kalyan, Bombay Presidency, British India. She is considered the first Indian female to study western medicine in the United States and was one of the earliest female physicians in the country. She inspired various women to pursue further education. Her original name was Yamuna. She was married at the age of nine to Goplarao Joshi. After returning from the U.S. to India, the princely state of Kolhapur appointed her as the physician-in-charge of the female ward of the local Albert Edward Hospital.

6. Sucheta Kripalani

She was born on June 25, 1908, in Ambala, Punjab, British India. She was an Indian freedom fighter and politician. She was also the first woman Chief Minister of India and served as the head of the Uttar Pradesh government from 1963 to 1967. During the Quit India Movement, she came to the forefront and was arrested by the British. Mahatma Gandhi wrote about her: “a person of rare courage and character who brought credit to Indian womanhood”. She also became a part of the subcommittee that laid down the charter for the constitution of India. In 1940, she established the All India Mahila Congress. 

7. Lakshmi Sahgal

She was born as Lakshmi Swaminathan on October 24, 1914, in Anakkara, Madras Presidency, British India. She was a revolutionary in the Indian independence movement, an officer in the Indian National Army, and also the Minister of Women’s Affairs in the Azad Hind government. She is commonly referred to in India as Captain Lakshmi. It was a reference to her rank when taken prisoner in Burma during the Second World War.

8. Indira Gandhi

She was born as Indira Priyadarshini Nehru on November 19, 1917, in Allahabad, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, British India. She was an Indian politician and the first female Prime Minister of India who served for three consecutive terms (1966–77) and a fourth term from 1980 until she was assassinated in 1984. In an online poll organized by the BBC in 1999, Indira Gandhi was named “Woman of the Millennium”. She was also named by Time magazine among the world’s 100 most powerful women who defined the last century in 2020.

Read more about Indira Gandhi

9. Anna Chandy

Justice Anna Chandy, or Anna Chandi, was born on April 5, 1905, in Trivandrum, Travancore. She was the first female judge (1937) and then, in 1959, the first High Court judge in India. It is said that she was also one of the first female judges in the British Empire to Emily Murphy.

10. Kalpana Chawla

She was born on March 17, 1962, in Karnal, East Punjab, India. She was an Indian-born American astronaut and engineer. She was the first woman of Indian origin to go to space. In 1997, she first flew on the Space Shuttle Columbia as a mission specialist and also the primary robotic arm operator. She died six years later, on February 1, 2003, when the space shuttle Columbia broke up on re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. All seven astronauts were killed on board. The legacy of Chawla has lived on. Her talent and her work inspired young people in India and across the world to consider careers in spaceflight.

READ | Most remarkable English literature women writers of all times

India has a rich history of great women who have made significant contributions to various fields and have left a lasting impact on the country and the world. The above mentioned are only a fraction of the many outstanding women in India. These women, along with many others, have made indelible contributions to India’s history and continue to inspire generations of people with their courage, intelligence, and perseverance. The purpose of International Women’s Day is not superficial, it is a day to celebrate the women in our lives and to celebrate and respect their sacrifices, courage, determination, ambition, and love. Let’s celebrate this day every day by treating women with respect.

Happy International Women’s Day to all! 

 

 

 

 

Mahesh is leading digital marketing initiatives at RecentlyHeard, a NewsFeed platform that covers news from all sectors. He develops, manages, and executes digital strategies to increase online visibility, better reach target audiences, and create engaging experience across channels. With 7+ years of experience, He is skilled in search engine optimization, content marketing, social media marketing, and advertising, and analytics.

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