Indian Women who defied Stereotypes

       “There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.”

-Michelle Obama

Women have conquered most professions and broken stereotypes. Yet, there are some stereotypes remaining. Such as, women can’t do physically challenging tasks. But these vestiges are fast disappearing.

On the occasion of Women’s Day, we at Impact Guru celebrate Indian women who defied stereotypes.

Deepa Malik

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Sportswomen are common, but Deepa is one with incredible achievements despite severe handicap and debilitating medical condition. Deepa is a paraplegic, paralysed from waist down. A spinal tumour made walking impossible for her. The spinal tumour had to be operated, with 31 surgeries and 183 stitches. But that hasn’t stopped Deepa.

She won the silver medal in shot put at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio. She has also won international medals in swimming. Besides, she also holds the Asian record in javelin throw. As if that isn’t enough, she is licensed to participate in tough car rallies. She has won 18 international medals and 51 gold medals at national and state level.

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Kalpana Chawla

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Kalpana Chawla was an Indian – American space astronaut.  She studied Aeronautical engineering in Punjab, before pursuing higher studies in USA. She joined NASA in 1988 and became US citizen in 1991.

In 1997, she became first Indian-born woman to fly into space, when she flew on Space Shuttle Columbia. However she lost her life in her second flight in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster on February 1, 2003

She was posthumously honoured with the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, NASA Space Flight Medal and NASA Distinguished Service Medal.

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Rajani Pandit

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Rajani Pandit is a private detective and regarded as the first in Maharashtra and perhaps in India. She solved her first case when she was in college. She set up Rajani Pandit Detective Services in 1991. By 2010, her firm was handling 20 cases a month and employing 30 detectives. She says, “Fear is not a word in my dictionary.”

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Meenakshi Vijayakumar

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Meenakshi is the first Indian fire officer. She started her career in 1990. However she had to wait till 2003,  before it was decided that women officers could be included in fire service. She is the present Deputy Director of North Western Region in Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services.

Meenakshi has trained more than 30 batches of fire officers from all over India. She has attended more than 400 fire and rescue calls. She has won Gold medal in shot put in the World Firefighters’ Games held in South Korea in 2010. She has also won Silver medal in shot put and Gold medal in Tennis, in the World Firefighters’ Games held in Australia in 2012.

Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh

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Women pilots may be common, but women fighter pilots are rare. It is only in February 2016, that President Pranab Mukherjee announced that women cadets will be allowed in combat roles in all three services. Flying Officers Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh were commissioned as India’s first three women fighter pilots in June 2016.

We hope to see more Indian women following in the footsteps of the most powerful women who changed the world by breaking the mould. Happy International Women’s Day!

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