International Womens Day: Indian Women Who are on Top of their Game

International Womens Day: Indian Women Who are on Top of their Game

By: WE Staff

The occasion of International women's day comes as a great reminder for us all about the strides women have made in all spheres of life. On this momentous occasion we remember the amazing women who have achieved unimaginable feet and in turn paved the way for hundreds of other women who will walk the path after them.

Be it becoming a successful business leaders, social activists or technocrat of substance, women have done it all!

On women’s day we honour some such women who are at the epitome of their profession and are an inspiration for women across the world. Let’s meet India’s super women.

Falguni Nayar- Business Tycoon

Falguni Nayar is the founder of Nykaa (formerly known as FSN E-Commerce Ventures). Falguni is one of two self-made billionaire Indian women and an inspiration for women all across the world.

She founded Nykaa with $2 million at the age of 50. On November 10th, 2021, Nykaa went public with a $13 billion value. Falguni’s net worth increased to $6.5 billion shortly after Nykaa went public, making her one of the top 20 Indians by net worth and making her the richest woman in the country. Falguni debuted at position 44 on the Forbes India Rich List in 2022.

Born and raised in Mumbai, Maharashtra, Falguni received her undergraduate degree in business administration from Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics and her postgraduate degree from the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad.

“Think big but start small” - Falguni Nayar

Tessy Thomas- Missile Lady of India

Tessy Thomas is an Indian scientist who serves as the Director General of Aeronautical Systems. Tessy is the first woman scientist in Indian history to be in charge of a missile program. She was previously the Project Director for the Agni-IV missile at the Defense Research and Development Organization.

She was appointed for the Agni Project, by A. P. J. Abdul Kalam himself. Tessy also served as the 3,000 km range Agni-III missile program's assistant project director. She oversaw the mission Agni IV project, which had a successful test in 2011. Tessy was subsequently chosen in 2009 to serve as the project director of the 5,000 km Agni-V, which was successfully tested on April 19, 2012. She was appointed Director-General, of Aeronautical Systems of DRDO in 2018. 

Her selection for the Agni Missile Program by the late Shri A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, the former president of India, was one of her greatest accomplishments. She has received accolades such as "Missile Lady of India" and "Agni Putri". Tessy received a lot of praise for presenting the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award.

Born in April 1963, Tessy’s name was derived from Mother Teresa's name. She completed her secondary education from St. Michael's Higher Secondary School and St. Joseph's Girl's Higher Secondary School in Alappuzha. She naturally excelled in physics and math. During her eleventh and twelfth grades, she received perfect scores in arithmetic. She also received more than a 95% in science throughout those same years. 

“There is no gender discrimination in science because science doesn’t know who is working for it”- Tessy Thomas

Vimla Kaul- Academician

81 year old Vimla Kaul is an academician who quit her position as a teacher in a government school 20 years ago to teach Delhi's underprivileged kids. Mrs Vimla along with her her late husband, HM Kaul, founded the school in 1993 under the name Guldasta.

Guldasta is located in a small four-room tenement that is often utilized to house labourers at a low cost. Here she teaches students subjects including English, science, math, and environmental studies. Her setup also provides extracurricular activities like drills and yoga to students.

The parents of these youngsters are locals who work mostly as cleaners or drivers for the middle-class housing estate across the street. "My spouse and I had recently both retired. We chose to give back, although we weren't sure what," said Mrs. Vimla.

“I do not think age has anything to do with an individual’s passion. On the contrary, the desire to achieve increases as one can see that very little time is in hand to achieve one’s target. So, the passion becomes acuter”- Vimla Kaul

Deepika Padukone- Global Film Icon

Indian actress Deepika Padukone, who was born on January 5, 1986, primarily appears in Hindi language films. She is one of India's highest-paid actresses who is also one of the most recognizable faces from Indian cinema across the world. She is included among the country's most well-known public figures; Time named her one of the world's 100 most important people in 2018 and gave her the TIME100 Impact Award in 2022. She was recently invited to unveil the FIFA World Cup Football in Qatar and has been added to the list of presenters for the Academy Awards 2023. She is also known for her work towards mental health awareness and various other causes.

Deepika has won three Filmfare Awards: two for Best Actress for Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela (2013) and Piku (2015), and one for Best Female Debut for Om Shanti Om (2007). 

Deepika was born to Konkani-speaking parents on January 5th, 1986 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Her mother, Ujjala, was a travel agent, while her father, Prakash Padukone, was a celebrated badminton player for India. She received her schooling at Sophia High School in Bangalore and finished her pre-university coursework at Mount Carmel College. As a result of schedule issues with her modelling profession, she later enrolled at the Indira Gandhi National Open University to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in sociology but dropped out.

 “The challenge is to keep working harder and doing better”- Deepika Padukone

Mithali Raj- Sporting Legend

Mithali Dorai Raj is an Indian cricket player who was the team's captain from 2004 to 2022. In women's international cricket, Mithali has scored the most runs and is regarded as one of the best female players ever. Mithali has received several national and international honours, including the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna in 2021, the Padma Shri in 2015, the Arjuna Award in 2003, and the Wisden Top Women Cricketer in the World in 2017.

For India, Mithali has participated in Test, ODI, and T20 matches in cricket. Even though she was just 14 years old, she was included as one of the probable for the 1997 Women's Cricket World Cup but was unable to make the final roster. In her ODI debut in 1999 in Milton Keynes against Ireland, she amassed an unblemished 114 runs. In the 2001–2002 season, she played her first Test against South Africa in Lucknow.

She has awarded with Arjuna Award in 2003, the Padma Shri in 2015, BBC 100 women in 2017, and recently she won Khel Ratna Award in 2021. 

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that”- Mithali Raj

 “Lending rate is a function of both liquidity as well as credit demand”- Arundhati Bhattacharya

Sudha Murthy- Positive Change Maker

The chairman of the Infosys Foundation is the Indian educator, writer, and philanthropist Sudha Murty. On August 19, 1951, in Shiggaon, Haveri, Karnataka, India, Sudha Murthy was born into a Deshastha Madhva Brahmin family. She was the daughter of physician R. H. Kulkarni and his wife Vimala Kulkarni, a schoolteacher. TATA Engineering and Locomotive Company, India's largest automaker, selected Sudha Murthy as its first female engineer (TELCO). She began working for the firm in Pune as a development engineer and then relocated to Mumbai and Jamshedpur.

She was awarded Raja Lakshmi Award in 2004, received the R.K. Narayana's Award for Literature in 2006, and crossword book award in the popular non-fiction category in 2018. In 2006, the Indian government awarded Sudha with the Padma Shri, the fourth-highest civilian honour in the country, in recognition of his humanitarian services. She received the Padma Bhushan, India's third-highest civilian honour, later in 2023.

“When climbing the ladder it is very easy to kick those below, but one must not forget that you cannot stay at the top forever. The higher you go, the longer is the fall.”- Sudha Murthy 

Arundhati Bhattacharya- Indian Banker

Arundhati Bhattacharya, a Former State Bank of India Chairwoman and retired Indian banker. The State Bank of India's Chairman is a woman for the first time. According to Forbes, she was ranked as the 25th most influential woman in the world in 2016. She is the only business executive from India who is placed number 26 on Fortune's list of the world's top CEOs. Arundhati: The Making of SBI's First Women Chairman was the headline of an interview she gave in 2018 that was published on.

As of September 1977, Arundhati worked for SBI. She is the first female to hold the position of CEO of a Fortune India 500 firm. At the age of 22, she initially began working with SBI as a Probationary Officer. Over her 36-year career with the bank, she has held a variety of jobs, including those in investment banking, treasury, retail operations, foreign exchange, and retail operations. She got awarded "Sera Bangali" – Serar Sera Award (2015).


Nilanjana Roy- The Author

Nilanjana Roy is an Indian journalist, author, editor, and much more. A Kolkata native, Nilanjana completed her schooling at La Martiniere School in Kolkata, went to St. Stephen's College at the University of Delhi, and earned a literature degree there in the 1990s. She has been a journalist and literary critic for the Business Standard and Biblio for more than twenty years.

The Wildings, written by Nilanjana, received the 2013 Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize. The book was included on the longlist for the 2013 DSC Prize and the Tata Literary First Book Award in 2012, as well as the Commonwealth First Book Award. The inventive tale by Nilanjana makes a powerful point about life and survival.

“You leave the heaviness of the ground behind, because here there is only the sky and then, if we could keep flying long enough, the stars.” - Nilanjana Roy