In India, the demons of gender equality and patriarchy have haunted women for centuries. Till date, women continue to suffer from domestic violence, dowry, lack of opportunities and inequality in pay. As things are gradually changing for better, there are some iron ladies who epitomize passion and determination, and continue to inspire us.
Here we list five Indian women who shattered the shackles of patriarchy, been spectacular at what they do and had India beaming with pride.
This woman boxed challenges in the face figuratively and literally. Mary Kom is the only woman to become a World Amateur Boxing Champion for a record six times. Nicknamed Magnificent Mary, she is the only Indian woman boxer who qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Some of her most significant achievements came after a hiatus, in which she had her first two children.
She is a lady who probably knows what rock bottom feels like. At the age of 23, Arunima Sinha was pushed from a running train by some robbers, and as a result lost her left leg. But even a grave loss like this couldn’t dampen her spirit to live. She is the world’s first female amputee to climb Mount Everest and has scaled several other peaks around the world. Ms. Sinha is also a motivational speaker, sharing her story and spreading the message to never back down.
Unconventional in her methods, global in her approach and yet Indian at heart – that’s filmmaker Mira Nair for you. This Indian-American filmmaker is known to tackle raw human emotions and transcend them on celluloid with ease. Be it the 1989 Oscar- and BAFTA-nominated Salaam Bombay, Monsoon Wedding or The Namesake, her directorial prowess brings alive the simplicity and depth of the core content.
In the late 90s and early 2000s, several Indian authors came to the fore for their thought-provoking writing. Despite being a cluttered space, some women writers like Jhumpa Lahiri, Arundhati Roy and Kiran Desai made their presence felt. Ms. Desai is the winner of the Man Booker Prize for her book Inheritance of Loss, and her contributions to the literary world have always earned her great reviews and respect.
She makes a suit look powerful and not the other way around. Indra Nooyi is an Indian-American businesswoman who served as the CEO of PepsiCo (the first female chief executive of the company) from 2006-18. She has been consistently ranked among the world’s 100 most powerful women. Mrs. Nooyi believes in constantly setting bigger goals, being a good listener and gives a lot of importance to valuing time.