Gender equality has been a major issue in India but some women have always managed to break barriers and enter territories that are traditionally reserved for men. These women have shown great courage in entering unusual professions and excelling in their fields. Here are 5 pioneering women in India.

FIRST WOMAN PILOT- Prem Mathur

Globally, around 4,000 of the 130,000 airline pilots are women, today. A decade and a half into the 21st century, the world still doesn’t seem ready for women pilots but India got its first women pilots within a few years after its independence. Captain Prem Mathur became the first Indian woman to be a commercial pilot. She started flying for Deccan Airways in 1951after obtaining her commercial pilot’s license in 1947 and winning the National Air Race in 1949.

Sepia Stories on SheThePeople, Indian Women's History

FIRST IPS OFFICER
Kiran Bedi

She is probably the most popular Indian woman of our times. Starting her career as a Political Science lecturer, she joined the Indian Police Service in July 1972, and became the first woman IPS officer. She later also became the Civilian Police Advisor in United Nations peacekeeping operations. Bedi served on a number of posts, excelling in every role before voluntarily retiring in 2007.

FIRST SUPREME COURT JUDGE
Justice Fatima Beevi

In 1989, India got its first female Supreme Court Judge, Justice M. Fatima Beevi. She started her career in the lower judiciary in Kerala and later became the Chief Judicial Magistrate in 1972. In 1984 she became a permanent Judge of the High Court and just five years later, was appointed to the Supreme Court as a Judge on October 6th, where she retired on 29 April 1992.

FIRST LT. GENERAL OF THE INDIAN ARMED FORCES
Lt. Punita Arora

Punita Arora became the first Indian woman to be appointed to the second highest rank, Lieutenant General of Indian Armed Forces and later the first Vice admiral of Indian Navy. Having joined the Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, in 1963, till date, she has been awarded with 15 medals in her 36 years of career in Indian Armed Forces.

FIRST BUSINESSWOMEN WITH $1BILLION NET-WORTH
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, the chairman and managing director of Biocon Limited, became the first Indian businesswoman to reach 1 billion dollar net-worth. She attended the Ballarat College of Advanced Education in Australia, studying Malting and Brewing and was the only woman enrolled in the course. Even after facing great troubles while starting up her venture, she did not give up and is currently one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country.

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