5 Inspiring Indian Women Who Fought The Odds. Do You Know Them?

Posted: May 4, 2015

These truly inspiring Indian women prove that nothing is impossible if you have the will to do it with determination, courage and passion.

They are from different backgrounds but they have a common mission – to stop at nothing and do what they believe in. Some of them came from small towns, are not so literate, got married in childhood and belonged to unstable families, while others challenged the stereotypes and did something substantial in fields which were ruled only by men till then. Some of them showed that even physical illness could not stop them since they had the passion and drive to reach their goals.

You may have a tough life, but the stories of these women will show you why that need not stop you from raising your voice on issues that matter.

Sunita Tomar

The poster girl of the anti-tobacco campaign in India, Sunita Tomar came from a small town in Madhya Pradesh. She was married at the early age of fourteen and soon, a mother to two young sons. Over time, she developed oral cancer due to chewing smokeless tobacco. She says that she did it for the pleasure, knowing little of its harmful effects. When Sunita was chosen to participate in a Public Service Announcement (PSA) by sharing her personal testimony, she agreed in order to create awareness in the country, despite the terrible pain and arduous treatment she was going through. It is sad that she lost the battle to cancer and died on April 1st 2015.

Usha Chaumar

Usha Chaumar from Alwar, Rajasthan, was married at the early age of ten and forced into manual scavenging. She was rescued from manual scavenging and rehabilitated by an NGO called Sulabh International. She leads a group of rescued manual scavengers at Sulabh and works there by producing papad, pickles and other eatables. Besides her practical achievements, she claimed human dignity and is truly a role model. She was even invited to interact with India’s first female President, Pratibha Patil. She has now been invited to deliver a talk on ‘Sanitation and Women’s Rights in India’ at a prestigious British university.

Arunima Sinha

Once a national level volleyball player, Arunima Sinha had to have one of her legs amputated, owing to an injury when she was thrown out of a moving train by some thieves in 2011. With a strong will to succeed, that she became the first amputee from India and the first woman amputee in the world to have climbed Mt. Everest.

Harshini Kanehakar

Harshini Kanehakar was not aware that she was the first woman to have applied for the fire engineering course at the National Fire Service college. She has never looked back since and was often even ahead of her fellow classmates – all men. She undertook all the rigorous drills and strenuous training sessions without any discrimination and went on to become the Indian first fire woman.

Surekha Yadav

The most common comment that Surekha Yadav hears is, “Women don’t drive railway engines!” Yes, she is a train driver and has many first credits to her name – first woman train driver of India who started in 1988, drove the first ladies special local train for central railways and the first Asian woman train driver to drive the Deccan Queen from Pune to Mumbai over a rough terrain.

Needless to say, is there anything that the women of this country cannot achieve?

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1 Comment


  1. i did not know about the fifth one

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