For 40 Over 40, SheThePeople chose 40 women from different walks of life. These women have touched numerous lives with their impactful work, challenging existing dynamics and ushering in a positive change in their fields of choice. Their work- past and present- needs to be celebrated as they not only brought their unique gaze to their field but also encouraged other women to follow their dreams by helping them overcome inhibitions of age, gender and other social stigmas.
Manjri Varde, Insta Saasu Maa
Meet Manjri Varde who is a painter by profession but widely called the fun, sassiest mother in law on the internet.
Manjri and her daughter-in-law Sameera Reddy together make videos breaking the stereotypes that a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law always have a difficult relationship.
They defy power struggles, egos to talk about how they have built an honest relationship. They are popularly called the Messy Mama- Sassy Saasu duo.
Susan Thomas, Prof & Social Media Stereotypes-Breaker
Susan Thomas is a professor by profession but uses her Instagram page to power discussions that are live and relevant to students and women. Through a simple but effective style, Thomas shares her journey and views to keep her audience engaged.
Poonam Sapra, Mother with Sign
To Instagrammers, Poonam Sapra is known simply as ‘Mother with Sign.’ Turning every desi maa’s infamous taunts and tricks into messages on cardboard signs, Sapra has taken on the role of an online mother to everyone who visits her profile.
Without being too preachy, board-wielding Sapra manages to hand over nuggets of inclusivity, acceptance, and positivity to the youth trying to make the world a better, safer place.
SheThePeople 40 Over 40 : We, at SheThePeople want to put the spotlight firmly on those women who have taken the leap of faith, once they’ve crossed forty, to chase their dreams, to go for the jugular, to become who they want to.
Seema Anand, Sex Positive Influencer
Seema Anand is normalising conversations about pleasure and sex online. She talks of women’s rights over their own bodies and how both young and older women can make this a start.
Ravi Bala Sharma, Dancing Dadi
A living example of the saying that age is just a number, 62-year-old Ravi Bala Sharma from Mumbai is breaking the internet with her dance moves.
From classical dance to bhangra, Sharma has done it all and boasts of over one lakh followers on Instagram where she is fondly called the “Dancing Daadi”.
Monica Jasuja, Fintech Expert
Monica Jasuja is an advocate of many important women-at-work issues. An early social media adopter she is building new age financial services products using her over twenty years of global experience.
Sangeeta Sharma, Lufthansa
Sangeeta Sharma is an aviation expert, and now the head of sales across Asia for Lufthansa. Sharma has been a big driver of the early-start up ecosystem in India by supporting a strong community of young leaders through content and media programs focussed on entrepreneurship.
Dr Nivedita Manokaran, Doctor-creator
Dr Nive as she is fondly called by her followers is a champion of women’s rights over their bodies and focusses on discussing many deep health issues with women.
Saisha Shinde, Designer
Saisha Shinde (formerly Swapnil Shinde) came out as a transwoman in January 2021. She is in the news again for designing the gown of Miss Universe Harnaaz Sandhu. “It was only in my early 20s at NIFT where I found the courage to accept my truth; I truly bloomed. I spent the next few years believing that I was attracted to men because I was gay, but it was only 6 years ago that I finally accepted to myself, and today that I accept to you. I’m not a gay man. I am a Transwoman,” the designer had written on social media at the time.
Dr Sudeshna Ray, Doctor-creator
Dr Sudeshna Ray is a Mumbai based gynaecologist who is simplifying complex women’s health issues and is championing new ideas in health. She is now a rising YouTube sensation on issues of gynaec and period health in partnership with SheThePeople.
Vibha Batra, Author
Vibha Batra is a Chennai-based Indian author, advertising consultant, poet, lyricist, translator, travel writer, playwright, and columnist. Through her work she seeks to discover and unravel the relationship we have with each of them. Her work has been featured in books and publications in India and abroad.
Kavita Agarwal is a Chartered Accountant, Company Secretary and Certified Treasury Manager by qualification with 2 decades of experience in these roles. She is the Founder of Career After Family Enterprise (fondly called CAFÉ)- A social initiative for women which imparts training to women on entrepreneurship without any charges.
Nandini Madan, COO & Director-Asia, Dalberg
Nandini Madan at Dalberg is responsible for operations at scale through the means of digitised and automated systems and processes. She is also passionate about creating an enabling environment at Dalberg for employees to bring their best selves to work by driving the company’s progressive work culture.
Neha Pant Tiwari, Your Success Story
Tiwari is a corporate trainer and youth mentor who is steadily building her individual enterprise. She is a certified NLP practitioner and works in areas of life transition and planning. She focusses on growth-oriented women (as well as men) who are at transition phases of life, looking to restart their life.
Falguni Nayar, Nykaa.com
Falguni Nayar is an Indian businesswoman and billionaire who is the founder and CEO of the beauty and lifestyle retail company Nykaa which recently had a blockbuster listing on India’s stock exchanges. Nayar is the latest of self-made female, Indian billionaires.
Gauri Agarwal, Sirohi
Armed with a master’s in finance from Warwick University, Gauri Gopal Agarwal joined Deutsche Bank as an analyst, but quit to start the Skilled Samaritan Foundation (SSF) in August 2012 as she wanted to work with local communities.
Beena Pallical is currently the General Secretary of Dalit Arthik Adhikar Andolan, and Executive Director, South Asia Dalit Women’s Economic Empowerment Program of Asia Dalit Rights Forum.
She has previously occupied roles in several leadership positions in both the state and central governments, working towards gender equality and caste annihilation.
Deepa Malik, Sportsperson
Deepa Malik is an Indian athlete. She started her career at the age of 30. She is the first Indian woman to win a medal in Paralympic Games and won a silver medal at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in shot put.
Anjali Gulati, Founder of People Konnect
Gulati is a back to work champion for women and is working to build a strong pipeline of talent that can contribute meaningfully to the corporate sector.
Paromita Vohra, Agents of Ishq
Paromita Vohra is an Indian filmmaker and writer. She is known for her documentaries and projects on subjects such as urban life, pop culture and gender. Her platform Agents of Ishq is breaking down traditions norms of love, sex and desire.
Payal Kapoor, Rasoi Ke Rahasya
Founder of YouTube channel Rasoi Ke Rahasya, Payal Kapoor is a champion of those with disabilities and is an advocate for those who are overcoming all odds to stand up for themselves. She lost her vision in her 20s and forged a new life for herself. Kapoor is a believer of technology and how that can help many find change.
Sunetra Chaudhary, Journalist
Sunetra Choudhury is a journalist and anchor with The Hindustan Times. Her career started with The Indian Express in 1999 where she became the deputy chief reporter. In 2002, she began her TV career with Star News. Later, she moved to NDTV in 2003. She is the co-author of Black Warrant: Confessions of a Tihar Jailer.
Harini Calamur, Public Commentator
Harini Calamur works at the intersection of digital content, technology, and audiences. She is a content professional with 20+ years of experience and a strong voice of objectivity on Twitter.
Chitra Divakaruni, Author
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an award-winning and bestselling author, poet, activist and teacher of writing. Her bestsellers bring a gender lens to stories in a deep and meaningful way. Her books include The Forest of Enchantment, Queen of Dreams, The Conch Bearer, The Palace of Illusions among many others. Divakaruni teaches in Creative Writing program at the University of Houston.
Priyanka Chaturvedi, Politician
Priyanka Chaturvedi is an Indian politician serving as Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra and Deputy Leader of Shiv Sena. Prior to this, she was a member and one of the National Spokespersons of Indian National Congress.
She is a powerful voice of women in a cut-throat political world and uses social media effectively to question stereotypes.
Arfa Khanum Sherwani, Journalist
Arfa Khanum is an award winning journalist who currently works at The Wire. As a journalist she fights trolls on social media who threaten her with death and rape threats for speaking truth to power. She is the winner of Sahitya Samman Award from the Hindi Academy, and the Chameli Devi Jain Award for Outstanding Women Mediapersons.
Chhaya Sharma, Police Officer
The officer who led the crusade to seize the perpetrators in the infamous Nirbhaya gang-rape case, Chhaya Sharma spent a large part of her career being invisible from the media glare. When she joined the Indian Police Service, not many women were a part of it and not many girls were even encouraged to dream to join it.
The officer who investigated and nabbed the convicts in the 2012 Delhi Gangrape case, returned to Delhi Police on December 7, 2021 as the Joint Commissioner of the Economic Offence Wing.
Konkona Sen Sharma, Actor
Konkona Sen Sharma is a young actor who talks about the importance of breaking stereotypes and celebrates being ‘different’.
In a recent interview with SheThePeople, Sen Sharma talked about ageism and menopause.
Juhi Chaturvedi, Screenwriter
Juhi Chaturvedi is an Indian screenwriter who works in Hindi films. An advertising professional based in Mumbai, Chaturvedi has written scripts for Bollywood films Vicky Donor Piku, October and Gulabo Sitabo.
Anna Chandy, Mental Health Advocate
The child of a dysfunctional family, and an early sexual abuse survivor, Anna has healed from the battles of her past, to rewrite her own story. Through her journey of therapy and training to be a counsellor, she has shed the many layers of being a people-pleaser, the perfect homemaker and reclaimed her identity as an individual, as Anna.
Today, with 25 years of experience, Anna plays multiple roles as a therapist, coach, speaker and trainer. Click here to watch an interview with her at the mental health summit, Reframe.
Vidya Shah, Singer
Vidya Shah is a thumri singer and has been a proponent of Indian classical music for years. She is trained in Carnatic music, and later received guidance in the North Indian genres of Khayal from Shubha Mudgal and Thumri Dadra, and Ghazal from Shanti Hiranand. She has performed at national and international forums. She also manages a platform called Women on Record. Read about her journey here.
Seema Pahwa, Actor
Seema Pahwa is an actor and director who made her directorial debut with the film Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi. The film, which was premiered at Mumbai Film Festival in 2019 had its theatrical release in 2021.
Lillette Dubey, Theatre Actor
At 22 she was madly in love with theatre. Armed with a masters in communication, this theatre actor turned film actor is back on the screen with Call my Agent Bollywood. She has worked in Indian and international theatre, television and films in Hindi and English languages.
Pankaj Bhadouria, Chef
Pankaj Bhadouria is the winner of MasterChef India Season 1. She was a school teacher who quit a 16-year-old job to participate in the first season of MasterChef India.
Maria Goretti, Celebrity Host & Cook
Maria Goretti is an actor who has seen diversified her career and is now a food show host on television. Goretti started out as a VJ, has a stint in many films and later developed her personality on shows like Do It Sweet on the NDTV Good Times channel and I Love Cooking on Living Foodz.
Jyotihika is an Indian actor who is breaking on-screen stereotypes by talking about ageism in a big way. In an interview with SheThePeople recently she spoke of the importance of women being the central leads of many movies and playing roles older to their own age. Watch that interview here.
Menaka Guruswamy, Lawyer
Menaka Guruswamy is a Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court of India. Guruswamy was among a group of lawyers who helped take a giant step for LGBTQ+ rights in the world’s largest democracy. Read our interview with Menaka here.
Inspector Rajeshwari: Cop from Chennai who carried an injured person to hospital
Chennai cop who won hearts after saving unconscious man, carrying him on shoulders amid rain and flooding all the way to the hospital. Read about her courageous feat here.
Arupa Kalita Patangia, Author
Arupa Kalita Patangia is an Indian novelist and short story writer and known for her fiction writing in Assamese. Her literary awards include: the Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad award, the Katha Prize and the Prabina Saikia Award.
Ranjana Kumari, Founder, CSR
Dr. Ranjana Kumari is the Director of Centre for Social Research as well as Chairperson of Women Power Connect. Dr. Kumari has dedicated her life to empowering women across the South Asia region. For articles on Ranjana Kumari, click here.