Be it politics, sports, business, or any other sphere, women have been at the forefront in India. These women have constantly challenged the stereotypes and emerged powerful.

Have a look.

1. KK Shailaja

The 62-year-old Kerala Health Minister has been credited and renowned the worldover for her effective strategy to deal with COVID-19 in the state. Her exceptional work in handling the pandemic was recognised by the United Nations.


Featured on the cover of a leading magazine for being one among the women of 2020, she is also  among the FT readers’ list of most influential women of 2020.


2. Nirmala Sitharaman

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was recently ranked 41st on Forbes’ list of 100 most powerful women in the world. She is also the first woman in India to hold the portfolio full-time. 

World Finance

3. Rana Ayyub

From covering India’s migrant crisis to being vocal about the government’s policies, Rana Ayyub has been instrumental in showing the way forward. She was rewarded the most Resilient Global journalist at the Peace Palace in Hague in 2018 and also received the McGill award for journalistic courage in 2020. 

maktoob media

4. Roshni Nadar Malhotra

Featured on the Forbes’ list of most powerful women in 2020, Roshni Nadar Malhotra is the chairperson of IT giant, HCL Technologies. She was hailed as the wealthiest woman in India in 2019 with an estimated net worth of ₹36,800 crore.


5. Zia Mody

Founding partner of AZB & Partners, a leading Indian law firm, Zia is recognised as one of the top-most lawyers in India and abroad. She was ranked 2nd on Fortune India’s list of Most Powerful Women of India in 2020.


6. Divya Gokulnath

Co-founder of Byju’s, Divya was featured in 2020 Forbes Asia’s Power Businesswomen list who have showcased great leadership in a year defined by a pandemic. 


7. Ameera Shah

At the helm of a global pathology empire Metropolis Healthcare worth ₹88.15 billion, Ameera Shah is on the Forbes’ list of powerful businesswomen of 2020 whose business boomed during the coronavirus pandemic.

DNA India

8. Karuna Nandy

Known more for her work in the field of constitutional law and human rights, Karuna Nundy is the leading voice of change behind laws achieving gender justice and freedom of speech in India, especially the anti-rape bill following the infamous Delhi gangrape case of 2012. 


She also represented the Bhopal Gas survivors in the Supreme Court and got them better healthcare systems.

9. Vinati Saraf Mutreja

CEO of Vinati Organic (VOL), a special chemicals company, Vinati Mutreja joined her father’s business in 2006 as Executive Director. Since her joining the company, profits have risen from ₹66 crore to ₹1,000 crore.


10. Bilkis Bano

82-year old Bilkis Bano, also known as Shaheen Bagh’s Dadi, was a part of TIME magazine’s list of 100 most influential people for 2020 for her silent revolution against the citizenship amendment act.

She also made it to BBC’s list of 100 Women for the year 2020.


11. Isaivani

The only female member of The Casteless Collective, the band which questions oppression or inequality through its music, Isaivani has been featured on the BBC’s ‘100 Women 2020’ list alongside women achievers from across the world.


12. Manasi Joshi

Manasi lost one of her legs in a road accident in 2011. A para-Badminton player, she has been recognized as a “change maker” and made to BBC’s 100 Women 2020′ and Forbes India Self Made Women 2020 lists.


13. Ankiti Bose

India’s first woman to co-found a $1 billion start up, Zilingo, 28-year-old Ankiti was featured in Forbes ‘Asia 30 Under 30’ list in 2018 and Forbes India Self Made Women 2020.


14. Dutee Chand

India’s first openly gay athlete, Dutee Chand, has been a staunch advocate of female athletes’ rights over their bodies and sexuality. She also received the prestigious Arjuna Award, this year.


15. Muthayya Vanitha

Hailing from Chennai, Muthayya Vanitha was the Project Director for Chandryaan 2 and has given 32 years of her life and learning to ISRO. 

She recently featured on Forbes India Self Made Women 2020 list.


16. Ritu Karidhal

Mission Director for Chandrayaan 2, Ritu is also known as the ‘Rocket Woman of India’. She first became famous with the launch of the Mars Orbiter Mission where she was the Deputy Operations Director.

She recently featured on Forbes India Self Made Women 2020 list.

Deccan Chronicle

17. Priyanka Chopra Jonas

One of the most successful and influential celebrities in the world, the 38-year-old actor is a global icon. Also a successful entrepreneur who runs her own production company, Priyanka grabbed a spot on Fortune India’s Most Powerful Women in Business list, this year. 

Financial Express

18. Nita Ambani

Nita Ambani, the owner of IPL team Mumbai Indians, has been named in the list of 10 most influential women in sports released by iSportsconnect. The non-executive director of Reliance Industries has also topped Fortune India’s Most Powerful Women list.

19. Anushka Sharma

Bollywood actor Anushka Sharma is a part of Fortune India’s Top 50 Most Powerful Women 2020. Apart from being a successful actor, she has also been acing the role of a producer with the last two hits Paatal Lok and Bulbbul coming from her production house.

Jagran Josh

20. Ekta Kapoor

Recipient of Padma Shri award, the 45-year-old producer and director is among the most powerful and influential businesswomen in India.

Business Insider India

21. Mithali Raj

Recipient of the Arjuna Award and Padma Shri, Mithali Raj is the highest run-scorer in women’s international cricket and the only cricketer to surpass the 6,000 run mark in women’s ODI. 


22. Barkha Dutt

Veteran journalist Barkha Dutt left no stone unturned in reporting the migrant crisis during lockdown. She brought to fore the stories of struggle and suffering at a time when we needed to hear them the most.


23. Faye D’Souza

From calling out inaction by government to in-depth reporting of the pandemic, Faye represents the kind of journalism needed across the globe. Her independent journalism has been recognised through several accolades and awards.


24. Menaka Guruswamy

An advocate, activist, and Rhodes Scholar, Menaka, has been instrumental in the battle against decriminalising Section 377. A globally acclaimed lawyer, she has also worked as a Human Rights Consultant to the United Nations. She along with her partner, Arundhati Katju, are all set to fight to legalize same-sex marriages in India.


25. Arundhati Katju

One of the lawyers who spearheaded the legal challenge to strike down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, Arundhati’s contributions to Indian society are immense. She along with her partner and advocate Menaka Guruswamy are now fighting to legalise same-sex marriages in India.


26. PV Sindhu

A national Badminton player, Sindhu has received the highest sports honour in India – Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna along with the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan. She made it to the Forbes’ list of Highest Paid Female Athletes in 2018 and 2019.


27. Seema Kushwaha

Seema is the lawyer who fought Nirbhaya’s case in the Supreme Court and got the convicts to be hanged. She is often called, ‘Voice of Nirbhaya’.


28. Preeti Sudan

An IAS officer, Preeti served as the Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare till July 2020 and led the Covid-19 battle in India. She has now been appointed as a member of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response that will evaluate international response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Print

29. Annies Kanmani Joy

Deputy Commissioner of Kodagu district in Karnataka, Annies Kanmani Joy is credited with the district reporting no COVID-19 cases for 28 consecutive days. She enforced strict protocols to contain the virus.

30. Lt. General Madhuri Kanitkar

A soldier, doctor and teacher, Lieutenant General Madhuri Kanitkar has taken great strides in being on the forefront. As the third female Lieutenant General in the history of India, she has shattered several stereotypes. Recently, she also became the first woman pediatrician to achieve the second-highest post in the Indian Army.


31. Bala Devi

The Indian footballer recently created history by becoming the first Indian ever to sign a professional contract with a top European club. She scored her first goal for Scottish side Rangers as her team defeated Motherwell 9-0 in the Scottish Women’s Premier League.

Outlook India

32. Mahua Moitra

The TMC MP has often made headlines by her fiery speeches in the parliament and is often recognised as the voice of opposition.


33. Tanushree Pandey

Tanushree is the journalist, whose relentless and crucial ground reporting ensured that the truth about the Hathras rape case reached everyone. As the UP Police cremated the rape victim in the middle of the night, Tanushree’s ground report and constant updates on social media were lauded by everyone. 


Maybe because they refused to be shackled by societal expectations and stood tall in every situation.