On International Women’s Day, here are eight Indian women who have forged their own destinies and carved their own careers, letting nothing and no one get in the way of their dreams.

Gitanjali Surendran, Lawyer

1. “It is important for one to find the things that speak to you… but there needs to be a larger systemic change.  Women are expected to do so much work, how do you quantify that? People to need to change on what they think about that.” – Gitanjali Surendran, Lawyer

Subhashree Basu, Chef, Hungry Cat Kitchen

2. “If there is a driving force behind becoming an entrepreneur, it should be passion. You can’t do things for money or to fill some gap you foresee in the market. You cannot push yourself to go to work and face problems daily (which you will, guaranteed) if you do not genuinely love what you are doing.” – Subhashree Basu, Chef, Hungry Cat Kitchen

Parul Banka, Author & Cancer Fighter

3. “We are all entitled to our opinions and religious beliefs, but we are not entitled to make shit up and then use the shit we made up to oppress other people.” – Parul Banka, Author. Read Her Story Here 

Malavika Rajkotia, Lawyer

4. “Any step towards justice has to begin with a complaint and ignorance of the law cannot be an excuse. Organisations need to be vigilant and there need to be regular compliance audits to ensure that the legislature is implemented.There is no system, no law that can improve human beings. We can’t eliminate but only try and curtail it to the best possible extent.” – Lawyer and author Malavika Rajkotia on Workplace Sexual Harassment.

Reena Dsouza, Emcee

5. “My dad was not keeping well and my mother had singlehandedly raised my sister and me. There were many people dissuading her from letting me follow my passion for becoming an anchor. I used to travel for about 45 km to and fro late at nights. Being safe sometimes worried me but I had the energy to just keep going until I accomplished my goals.” Reena Dsouza, Emcee.

Inderpreet Nagpal, Founder of HerbsnSpices

6. “Having worked in an organisation, I realised I am not made for the politics and drama that entails, I also enjoy being my own boss. I work as hard, if not more, but I enjoy it more. In all honesty, it also saves me from the madness which is traffic. And the bonus is I can make pickles while sipping on a red wine or a dram of single malt. Now, where would I get that?” – Inderpreet Nagpal, Founder of HerbsnSpices.

Anu Singh Chowdhary, Journalist and Filmmaker.

7. “Society insists on girls being quintessentially “good” (or forces them to abide by the roles/stereotypes) because it suits the convenient gender norms. Whoever challenges that will be called a rebel. That’s why you will be tagged as loud, rowdy, troublemaker, housebreaker, footloose, and what not if you dare to wear your feminism, or your belief, on your sleeves.” – Anu Singh Chowdhary, Journalist and Filmmaker.

Vamini Sethi, Banker and Biker.

8. “It is important to try and make your life count… and once a woman realises her potential and believes in herself, even sky is not the limit.” – Vamini Sethi, Banker and Biker.