List of ‘First’ Indian women in the history of India

Indian women’s history is full of pioneers who have broken gender barriers and worked hard for their rights and made progress in the field of politics, arts, science, law etc.
We bring you a list of ‘First Indian Women’, noting the first time an Indian woman achieved something:

Mother Teresa:

She became the first Indian woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation, giving her life to social work.

Indira Gandhi:

She became the first woman Prime Minister of India and served from 1966 to 1977. Indira Gandhi was named as the ‘Woman of the Millennium’ in a poll which was organised by BBC in 1999. In 1971, she became the first woman to receive the Bharat Ratna award.

Pratibha Patil:

She became the first woman President of India and held office from July 2007 to July 2012.

Kalpana Chawla:

She became the first Indian woman in space. The first time Kalpana Chawla went into space on a space shuttle was in 1997 as a mission specialist and a primary robotic arm operator.

Kiran Bedi:

Joining Indian Police Service (IPS) in 1972, Kiran Bedi became the first woman officer in India. Moreover, later in 2003, Kiran Bedi also became the first woman who was appointed as the United Nations Civil Police adviser.

Justice M. Fathima Beevi:

In 1989, Justice M. Fathima Beevi became the first female judge who was appointed to the Supreme Court of India.

Sania Mirza:

The professional tennis player became the first ever Indian woman to win a Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) title in 2005. Later in 2015, Sania Mirza became the first Indian woman to be ranked no. 1 in WTA’s doubles rankings.

Saina Nehwal:

Currently ranking no. 2 in the World, Saina Nehwal became the first Indian to win a medal in Badminton at Olympics in 2012. Later in 2015, she became the first Indian woman to become no. 1 in World ranking.

Mary Kom:

Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom, also known as Mary Kom is the only woman boxer who has won a medal in each of the six World Championships. She was the only Indian woman boxer who qualified for the 2012 Olympics and became the first Indian woman boxer to win a gold medal in Asian Games in 2014.

Bachendri Pal:

In 1984, Bachendri Pal became the first Indian woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Later, she led expeditions in 1993, 1994 and 1997 with a team comprising of only women in Indo-Nepalese Women’s Mount Everest Expedition, The Great Indian Women’s Rafting Voyage and First Indian Women Trans-Himalayan Expedition.

Anna Malhotra:

Anna Rajam Malhotra became the first woman IAS officer of India.

Harita Kaur Deol:

Flight Lt Harita Kaur Deol was a pilot in the Indian Air Force. She became the first woman pilot to fly solo in the Indian Air Force, in 1994.

Priya Jhingan:

With a dream to be in the Indian Army, Priyan Jhingan became the first Indian woman to join the Indian Army in 1993.