4 Indian Women who were the Firsts in an Otherwise Male Dominated Field
Women’s Day is right around the corner and what better way to get the spirit going than to commemorate the success of women who paved the way for young women and girls like us today? Let’s ditch the mainstream and talk about the lesser known yet immensely significant women achievers who broke the stereotype and went on to leave an indelible mark in the books of history.
1. Chandramukhi Basu (1860-1944)
Born in 1860, she became one of the first female graduates of the British Empire alongside Kadambini Ganguly. In 1882, she passed the examination of Bachelor’s degree in Arts and on 1883 she was formally handed the degree, making her the first Indian woman to acquire a Bachelor’s as well as a Master’s degree in Arts. She also went on to become the first female head of an undergraduate academic establishment in all of South Asia after becoming the principal of Bethune College.
2. Kadambini Ganguly (1861-1923)
Graduating alongside Chandramukhi Basu, she is not only credited with being one of the first Indian female graduates but also the first ever female physician in all of South Asia. She was also a prominent social activist and reformer, advocating for female emancipation. She overcame the orthodox and rose above it all.
3. Homai Vyarawalla (1913-2012)
Photojournalism has come a long way since she first picked up a camera. Homai Vyarawalla became India’s first woman photojournalism. Working under the pseudonym “Dalda 13”, her famous works are of photographing political leaders like Gandhi, Nehru, Jinnah, Indira Gandhi and the Nehru-Gandhi family. Despite being a talented photographer she later gave up photography due to the disrespectful attitude of the newer generation of photojournalists.
4. Bachendri Pal (1954- present)
At 1:07 pm, 23rd May, 1984, she created history by being the first Indian woman to climb Mount Everest. Everest’84 was India’s fourth expedition to Mount Everest of which she was a part of. Bachendri Pal was from a family of moderate means but got her first glimpse of mountaineering in a school picnic, she was later invited to complete her higher education by her principal, becoming the first girl to graduate from her village.