In the past couple of months, a lot of media houses have published several stories on women, lauding those who have attained firsts in their respective fields. The first woman pilot, the first female cab driver, the first woman wrestler, the first woman head of a sports department – and to be honest, the recognition is long overdue.
Here are several ‘firsts’ where women crashed the glass gender ceiling and forced the world to acknowledge their contribution:
1. Head of a sports federation
Saudi Arabia is notoriously behind the rest of the world when it comes to affording women the same rights as men. But 2017 has seen the winds of change sweeping across the desert kingdom. In addition to being given the right to drive, the country has named Princess Rima bint Bandar bin Sultan, as head of its multi-sports federation.
2. Dancing to her own beat
When you know that everything is male-dominated, you don’t really wait for an opportunity to come by, you create one for yourself. That’s the story of Parv Kaur, who is widely acknowledged as the first female dhol drummer in the UK, and she just may be the first woman of Indian origin to achieve this in India as well.
“I love the shock factor I give to people who look at me,” says Parv. Female dhol drummers are very rare around the world, so when Parv took this job, she stormed a niche market dominated by men.
3. Creating her own unique WrestleMania
Recently, Kavita Devi made history by becoming the first Indian woman to bag a contract with WWE. Devi is an accomplished power-lifter, who won gold at the 2016 South Asian Games when representing India. Yet, Devi is not the first Indian woman to seek a career in wrestling.
India has several women who have made a mark in powerlifting and wrestling, but Kavita is the first to go pro on a such a scale.
4. First female minister in Mizoram after 30 years
The first woman minister in Mizoram’s state assembly since 1987, Lalawmpuii Chawngthu also became the second woman to be inducted to the state council. The three-decade-long gap only shows that women have to struggle even in a state where matrilineal communities exist. Lalhlimpui Hmar was the first woman Minister of State in Mizoram in 1987.
5. First world championship biker
Last month, Ana Carrasco took it upon herself to break the internet and win applause and praise by becoming the first woman to win a world championship bike race. The 20-year-old Spaniard beat the world-renowned Alfonoso Coppola (by 0.053 seconds) and Marc García (by 0.062 seconds) in round 10 on her Kawasaki Ninja 300.
6. Navigating rough waters
The sea warrior, Radhika became the first Indian woman captain in the Indian Merchant Navy. She is also the first woman in the world to receive the Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea after she saved the lives of seven fishermen.
It’s amazing how women are proving to be dominant in every field they have managed to enter and from where we see, there is no stopping them.
7. Laying down the law
As crucial law making is for society, it’s imperative that woman are equally part of the system that makes law; after all, their opinion needs to be taken into consideration too. However, after all these years, it is only now that India has named a woman for the International Tribunal of the Law for the Sea (ITLOS).
Neeru Chadha, the first woman chief legal adviser to the ministry of external affairs, former legal adviser to the Indian UN mission, and an acknowledged expert in maritime law, international arbitration and on UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is India’s first female candidate for ITLOS.
8. Protecting our borders
Tanushree Pareek recently made history after she was inducted into the Border Security Force (BSF), following a convocation ceremony at the BSF Academy. She is now the first woman field officer to join BSF and be posted in the field. Tanushree began her training last year in a 52-week programme and graduated from the 40th batch of the BSF Academy.
9. Driving a locomotive
It’s funny how many industries are still dominated by men; yet, women manage to force their way through, however uninvited. Meet Mumtaz M.Kazi, the first woman in Asia to drive a diesel engine train and pierce through a male-dominated profession.
Since the age of 20, she has been driving different types of trains and has proved why she is the right professional for the job. She has also been awarded the prestigious ‘Nari Shakti Puraskar’ by President Pranab Mukherjee.
10. Navigating the streets of the capital
33-year-old Vankadarath Saritha began working with the Delhi Transport Corporation in 2015 and became the first woman ever to drive a bus in India’s capital. Despite having a quota for female drivers, no female ever ventured into this field. Saritha not only conquered the path in Delhi but could soon be the first woman in Telangana to drive a bus.
11. Taking to the skies
The first female commercial pilot of Dubai and a member of the ruling family, Sheikha Mozah earned her wings in April last year, after completing the APP First Officer programme at the CAE Oxford Aviation Academy in Phoenix, Arizona.
12. Warden in a men’s jail
Mangla is India’s first woman put in charge of looking after an entire men’s jail on her own. She has been appointed as the superintendent of a men’s jail and monitors over 800 male inmates on a daily basis.
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