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Govt. felicitates 112 exceptional women achievers

President Ram Nath Kovind with Women Achievers honoured by the Ministry of Women and Child Development at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, on January 20, 2018. Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi is also seen.
President Ram Nath Kovind with Women Achievers honoured by the Ministry of Women and Child Development at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, on January 20, 2018. Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi is also seen.
Missile woman Tessy Thomas, athlete P T Usha, mountaineer Bachendra Pal, Kamala Sohonie, the first Indian woman to get a Ph. D. in Science, first female Supreme Court judge Fathima Beevi, India-born astronaut Kalpana Chawla and Priya Jhingan, the first lady cadet to join the Indian Army -- all exceptional women by any standards.
 
As many as 112 such women -- extraordinary achievers past and present, who defied stereotypes and broke glass ceilings to scale heights their sisters had not till then, some now in wheel-chairs -- were felicitated by Minister of Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi here today.
 
Minister of Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Anupriya Patel were amongst those present on the occasion.
 
These "First Ladies", who were the first to set a milestone in their respective fields, also called on President Ram Nath Kovind later in the day.
 
Mr. Kovind told the gathering that progress of women is a barometer for progress in any country or society. 
 
"We are witnessing positive change in participation of women in our country. Yet, due to prejudiced mindsets, women are still victims of violence. They need to feel secure in public places, and this should be a matter of concern for all of us. Along with the government, it is the responsibility of every section of society," he said.
 
Mr. Kovind said the pace at which women were empowered would determine how fast the country moved towards a more sensitive and equitable society.
 
"The main purpose of this empowerment is to create an environment where women can take decisions for themselves, for their families and for society," he said.
 
The President said that women are naturally multi-skilled. "We should use their potential effectively to make them economically self-sufficient and to strengthen the economy of our country. We should motivate them to make their contribution and establish their identity outside the family circle. He added that the extraordinary women present at today’s function are an inspiration for others in the country," he said.
 
The women who were honoured today included Aditi Pant, first Indian woman to reach Antarctica; Harshini Kanhekar, the country's first woman fire fighter; Shila Dawre, the first woman autorickshaw driver; Selvi Gowda, the first female taxi driver and Surekha Yadav, the first train driver.
 
They also included Neelu Rohmetra, the first woman to head an Indian  Institute of Management (IIM); Chetna Sinha, founder of the first rural bank for women; Chitra Ramakrishna, first MD and CEO of National Stock Exchange (NSE); and Sneh Bhargava, the first woman to head the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
 
Others honoured today included Durgabai Kamat, first actress of Indian cinema, actress Aishwarya Rai, film maker Venika Mitra, cinematographer Anjul Shukla, publisher Urvashi Butalia and chef Pankaj Bhadouria.
 
Mary Poonen Lukose, first female surgeon of India, scientist Rajeshwari Chatterjee, cardiologist S Padmavati, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, first Indian businesswoman, to reach $ 1 billion net worth, businesswomen Siddhi Karnani and Radhika Aggarwal and social entrepreneur Pooja Warier.
 
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Swimmers Bula Choudhury, Arati Saha and Bhakti Sharma, boxer M C Mary Kom, cricketers Mithali Raj, Diana Edulji and Anjum Chopra, badminton stars Saina Nehwal and P. V. Sindhu,  tennis player Sania Mirza, differently-abled mountaineer Arunima Sinha, weightlifter Karnam Malleswari, shooter Heena Sidhu, chess grandmasters Vijayalakshmi and Bhagyashree Thipsay, wrestlers Geeta Phogat and Sakshi Malik, gymnast Dipa Karmakar and the Indian women's ice hockey team were also among those honoured.
 
Others in the First Ladies list included Bhavana Kanth, Avani Chaturvedi and Mohana Singh, the Indian Air Force's first batch of female fighter pilots; Lt. Col. (Retd.) Josycila Farida Rehana, first woman paratrooper;  tabla player Anuradha Pal; gynaecologist Indira Hinduja; singer K. S. Chitra; and Naina Lal Kidwai, Shobana Kamineni and Swati Piramal, the first woman presidents of industry bodies FICCI, CII and ASSOCHAM, respectively.
 
There were also achievers in various other fields: Shatbhi Basu, first female bartender; Archy J, first female bagpipe artiste; canine trainer Shirin Merchant; woman detective Rajani Pandit; sculptor Anila Jacob, Dastangoi artiste Fouzia Dastango and Bharulata Kamble, first woman driver to complete a transcontinental car journey alone, covering 32,000 km across 32 countries.
 
"Your achievement will inspire other women to break the glass ceiling and do the women of India proud," Ms. Gandhi said at the event.
 
A coffee table book showcasing the achievements of these ladies was also released on the occasion.
 
The profiles of the 112 Women Achievers can be seen here.
 
NNN
 
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