You may already know about the female powerhouses – the moguls, world leaders, dignitaries, and stars who can dominate the world with a single Instagram post, performance or nearly activity in the public eye. Lots of these women – like Nirmala Sitharaman, P.V. Sindhu, Mithali Raj, and Sunitha Krishnan – are extremely well known, either within their respective spheres of influence, throughout the country, or even the world. In 2019, everywhere we turn, we’re presented with the undeniable power of women. Despite their many differences – in socioeconomic background, race, age, or area of expertise – these powerful, brave, and all-around amazing women inspire us every day.
So as the world marks International Women’s Day on March 8 – we commemorate the occasion by featuring nine feisty women – especially those fighting towards gender rights, equality, and basically kicking through that glass ceiling. Chances are you may not know who some of them are (yet!). Here’s why you should! - Anisha
Making an Impact
Who: Nirmala Sitharaman
What: Defence Minister
Why: Most women know that making a mark for yourself in a male-dominated society requires a lot of perseverance and hard work. We have many motivational stories from across the country, where women have achieved remarkable success. And then there is Nirmala Sitharaman – the first full-fledged woman defence minister of India (Indira Gandhi held this post, while also fulfilling her responsibilities as Prime Minister) – who keeps inspiring us all the time.
An economist by education, Sitharaman, became the defence minister at a time when tensions with Pakistan and China were escalating. An alumnus of Jawaharlal Nehru University, other achievements include armed forces reforms, raising morale, and expanding the domestic defence industrial base. Earlier last month, Sitharaman approved significant changes in the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP), which basically gives the highest priority to manufacture of defence equipment and indigenous designs. It also has provided the policy framework for liberalisation of FDI norms, the introduction of the Strategic Partnership model, and provides a level playing field to private industry.
Sitharaman has carved a niche for herself in a career spanning over 20 years. Born in Madurai and having obtained a master’s degree in economics, Nirmala Sitharaman served as the deputy director of the Centre for Public Policy Studies at Hyderabad, and has laid the foundation for the Parnava School in the same city. The dynamic lady was a member of the National Commission for Women from 2003 to 2005, and was instrumental in voicing various issues related to women. The 59-year-old joined the saffron party in 2008. But her rise in the party from then on has been steady, with her serving as a Member of the Rajya Sabha, since 2016. Elevated to Rakhsha Mantri in September 2017, her ability to articulate a nuanced position will be tested considering the ongoing Indo-Pak tensions along the Line of Control (LoC).