Indian cinema entered a new phase with the entry of this fiery
young actress in 1931 when she made her debut in a silent film. The
first woman from a ‘good’ family who entered films, Durga Khote broke
the notion that movies were a taboo profession for Indian women. A
leading Indian magazine, rated her among 100 people Who Shaped India, as
it noted that "Durga Khote marks the pioneering phase for woman in
India’s first woman photojournalist, Homai Vyarawalla took the first
picture of her career at the age of 26 in 1938. She has worked for the
Illustrated Weekly of India and by clicking some historical pictures
herself became a historical figure.
The governor of erstwhile United Provinces, Sarojini Naidu
became the first Indian woman to be made the Governor of a state when
Indian attained independence from British rule on August 15, 1947. Sadly
she breathed her last barely two years after that. She was also the
first Indian woman to become the president of the Indian National
Congress in pre-independent India.
She was not only the first Indian but also the first woman
president of the United Nations General Assembly in 1953. Besides,
Pandit had served as envoy to the USSR before her appointment to this
coveted post. Vijay Lakshmi was the younger sister of ex-Prime Minister
|I B Joshi
The first woman IAS officer of independent India, Isha Basant
Joshi was posted as Magistrate and then as Assistant Commissioner in
Delhi, followed by her appointment as Commissioner-cum-State Editor of
District Gazette. She retired in 1966. The sad part of her life is that
at the ripe age of 96, the lady is spending her last days in the dingy
servant quarter of her already sold out ancestral house.
First woman Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh in independent
India in 1963, Sucheta was a freedom fighter as also one of the few
women who were elected to the Constituent Assembly and was part of the
subcommittee that drafted the Constitution of free India.
The first Indian woman to win the Miss World title in 1966,
she serves as a role model for women who aspire for glamour. Reita Faria
gave up modeling after her tenure as Miss World ended. She took up
medical studies after that and became a doctor.
First woman Prime Minister of independent India in 1966,
Indira was the daughter of the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal
Nehru. She was PM for three consecutive terms from 1966 to 1977 and for
a fourth term from 1980 until her assassination in 1984. With the Green
Revolution that made India a food exporter to the White Revolution that
aimed at combating malnutrition, Indira’s tenure was also tainted by
her clamping of Emergency due to which her career suffered a serious
The Rajmata of Jaipur was born as Princess Gayatri Devi of
Cooch Behar. She was the third Maharani of Jaipur from 1939 to 1970
through her marriage to Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II. Following India's
independence, she became an extremely successful politician and was a
15-time MP. Known for her beauty, she championed the cause of women’s
education and uplift. She was also the first to step out of Purdah in
her state, paving the way for other women’s freedom.
Breaking the shackles of the male-dominated Indian Police
Service, Kiran Bedi became the first woman IPS officer of India in the
year 1972. She has worked with the United Nations as the Police Advisor
to the Secretary General. Bedi has also received the Ramon Magsaysay
Award when she was the IG of Tihar jail. Prior to joining the civil
services, Kiran was an Asian tennis champion.