“I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong”. These words by yesteryear actress Audrey Hepburn ring true even today. Women, then or now, have been consistently shattered by convention and are breaking into the fields that have been typically male-dominated. Overcoming the many challenges that come their way, they have retained their indomitable spirit and emerged as role models for countless others. On International Women’s Day 2022, let’s take a look at some of the women achievers, who have broken records and made the country proud, even at a global level.
It was at the ripe age of 11 that Avni met with a brutal accident that left her restricted to a wheelchair. Although she faced various challenges, she was not ready to back down. This girl from Jaipur prepped hard and became the first woman to win a gold medal in the R-2 women’s 10m Air Rifle, in the 2020 Paralympics. She has been training since 2015, and her efforts bore fruit!
There’s no one who doesn’t know badminton icon PV Sindhu. Over the years, she has made an indelible impact on our lives. The Hyderabad-based sportstar got her big break at the 2013 Malaysian Open Grand Prix, and ever since, there has been no looking back. Her career’s turning point came in 2019, when she became the first Indian to win a gold medal in the Badminton World Championships. Furthermore, she is also the first Indian sportsperson who bagged two consecutive medals at the Rio Olympics and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
They say no challenge is big enough, if you have the spirit to face them head-on. Such is the case with Arunima, who lost her leg when she was pushed from a running train by a bunch of thieves. Despite this, she scripted history in 2013, by becoming the first female amputee to climb Mount Everest. That’s not all — she is also the first female amputee to conquer Mount Vinson, the highest peak in Antarctica. Over the years, the Padma Shri awardee has also scaled Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, Mount Kosciuszko in Australia, Mount Elbrus in Europe, and Mount Aconcagua in South America.
A woman like Gita needs no introduction. The Harvard graduate became the first Indian woman to be appointed as the chief economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2018. She is also the second Indian after prolific economist Amartya Sen to bag a permanent membership in the Economics department, Harvard.
She has a string of accolades to her credit. Gita was conferred upon the title of Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. In 2014, she was one of the Top 25 Economists under 45 listed by the IMF. She was also awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman.
Another woman to have scripted history is Avani, who became the first Indian woman fighter pilot to fly the Mig-21 solo in 2018. For the uninitiated, the aircraft is said to have the highest take-off and landing speed, but that didn’t deter her in any way. She, along with Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh Jitarwal, also became the first women combat pilots, to be inducted in the Indian Air Force.
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Sportspersons always have inspiring stories, and such is also the case with Aruna, who scripted history by bagging a bronze in the women’s vault at the World Cup in 2018. What’s striking is that she trained for over 13 years to earn this laurel. The Hyderabad-based gymnast also has a black belt in karate.
Law may be a male bastion, but women like Indu have gone on to inspire others of their tribe to join the revolution. Her illustrious journey began in 1983, and it was in 1988 that she qualified as Advocate-on-Record in the Supreme Court. She created history by becoming the first woman to be raised directly from the bar to the Supreme Court. It was in 2018 that she assumed the position of the new judge at the Supreme Court. Indu also became the second woman to be entrusted with the responsibility of Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court.
Commando training may not be a territory that has women, but Seema decided to shatter stereotypes and script history. She has trained over 15,000 soldiers in a close quarter battle. What’s more, she is a doctor by profession and also holds an MBA in crisis management. Interestingly, she is counted among the only 10
women in the world who has been trained in Bruce Lee’s developed martial art form, Jeet Kune Do.
There’s a long and growing list of women achievers out there, and we salute every one of them for trying to #BreakTheBias! Happy Internatioanl Women’s Day to everyone!