Skip To Content
    Posted on 5 Apr 2017

    15 Indian Women Who Fought The Odds To Become Trailblazers

    They make breaking new ground and smashing old ceilings look so easy.

    1. Gauri Sawant

    This trans woman is raising her adopted daughter single-handedly against all odds and also works for the welfare of the LGBTQ community in India.

    2. K. Prithika Yashini

    Strdel / AFP / Getty Images

    After a hard-fought legal battle, Prithika became the first trans woman to attend the Tamil Nadu Police Academy and become a member of the Indian Police Force. She is now the sub-inspector at Dharmapuri district in Tamil Nadu.

    3. Shweta Katti

    Indranil Mukherjee / AFP / Getty Images

    After growing up in a red light district, she travelled across India conducting sex-ed workshops, and then secured a full scholarship at an American college.

    4. Reshma Qureshi

    Trevor Collens / AFP / Getty Images

    The 19-year-old beauty vlogger turned model changed her destiny by choosing to not live in fear after surviving an acid attack. Last year, she also walked the ramp at the New York Fashion Week, becoming the first acid attack survivor to do so.

    5. P.V. Sindhu

    Sajjad Hussain / AFP / Getty Images

    This 21-year-old from Hyderabad is the first Indian woman to have won a silver medal at the Olympics. She earned the Arjuna Award at the age of 18 and was also awarded the Khel Ratna after she became an Olympic medalist.

    6. Arunima Sinha

    Strdel / AFP / Getty Images

    After being pushed from a running train and losing her leg in 2011, Sinha eventually became the first Indian amputee to climb Mount Everest in 2013. She was later awarded a Padma Shri for her grit and determination.

    7. Priya Jhingan

    In 1992, Priya Jhingan made history by becoming the first woman officer to join the Indian Army.

    8. Senorita Nongpluh

    This 12-year-old plays for Pune City FC in the Indian Women's League with Indian football stalwarts and is the youngest scorer in a national league.

    9. Sunitha Krishnan

    Brad Barket / Getty Images

    Having survived sexual assault on multiple occasions, Krishnan now runs an organisation, Prajwala, that helps rescue and rehabilitate sex-trafficking victims in society.

    10. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw

    Manpreet Romana / AFP / Getty Images

    At the age of 25, Shaw started Biocon India out of her garage in Bengaluru. She is now one of the richest women in India and also counted as one of the most influential people in the world of business.

    11. Sakshi Malik

    Jack Guez / AFP / Getty Images

    Sakshi Malik became the first Indian female wrestler to win a medal at the Olympics. The young woman from Haryana is now a Padma Shri and a Khel Ratna, at the age of only 24.

    12. Kiran Bedi

    Narinder Nanu / AFP / Getty Images

    Bedi was the first female IPS officer in the Indian Police Force and remained in service for 35 years, before finally moving on to social activism and politics.

    13. The ISRO team of women behind India's Mars mission

    Manjunath Kiran / AFP / Getty Images

    India's mission to Mars and the success it eventually became boiled down to some of the team's female members. The palpable joy that was captured on the faces of Anuradha TK, Nandini Harinath and Ritu Karidhal, among others, went viral immediately and highlighted the need to make Indian women in science more prominent.

    14. Dipa Karmakar

    Rebecca Conway / AFP / Getty Images

    The first Indian gymnast to make it to the Olympics, Karmakar performed the Produnova in the final round — a move that many, including the eventual gold medalist Simone Biles, refused to do.

    15. Saarah Hameed Ahmed

    Bengaluru-based Ahmed was only 25 when she became the first Muslim woman to become a pilot in India. She enrolled in a flying school in the U.S. at the age of 18 and had to fight a lot of stigma from people around her while pursuing her dream.

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form