Women who made headlines in the year 2019
They broke barriers and the glass ceiling, battled stereotypes, and went the extra mile to achieve whatever they set out to do. Many women made headlines this year and Womenia presents the list of women newsmakers of 2019.
Ritu Karidhal, ISRO
As Project Director of the Chandrayaan-2 mission, Ritu Karidhal was feted for her role in helping one of India's most ambitious lunar projects.
Muthayya Vanitha, ISRO
Muthayya Vanitha is the Project Director of Chandrayaan-2. She is the first woman to hold this position. She has led projects on satellites at ISRO.
Gagandeep Kang, Scientist
Gagandeep Kang made news this year as the first Indian woman to be elected to the Fellow of Royal Society.
Remya Haridas, Politician
Remya Haridas is the only woman MP from Kerala in the 17th Lok Sabha. She won the Lok Sabha elections from Alathur, and is the daughter of a daily wager. She is the only second Dalit woman MP from Kerala, 48 years after Bhargavi Thankappan of the CPI won an election in 1971.
Aarohi Pandit, Pilot
Aarohi Pandit created news this year by becoming the first woman pilot to cross both the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean in a Light Sports Aircraft (LSA). With this, she also became the first woman pilot to cross the Atlantic Ocean solo.
Gita Gopinath, Economist
Indo-American economist Gita Gopinath is the first woman to be appointed the Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund.
She is the second Indian to take up the position after former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan. Gita is the John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and Economics at Harvard University.
Chandrima Shaha, Scientist
In January 2020, biologist Chandrima Shaha will earn the distinction of becoming the first woman president of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) in 85 years of its existence. This is a fillip for women in science, especially those who aspire to become leaders.
Ridhima Pandey, Environmental Activist
Hailed as the Greta Thunberg of India, 11-year-old Ridhima Pandey is one of the 16 children who sued five nations believed to cause the most pollution (Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Turkey).
The movement led by Swedish environmentalist Greta Thunberg made the world sit up and take note of the alarming climate change issue.
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Businesswoman
Chairperson and Managing Director of Biocon, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw continues to inspire women in India and abroad. This year, Biocon celebrates 40 years and Kiran believes this has been possible only due to innovation and perseverance. She is a recipient of Padma Shri, Padma Vibhushan, and multiple other awards.
Chandrani Murmu, MP
At the age of 25, Chandrani Murmu made history by becoming the youngest-ever Lok Sabha MP. An engineering graduate from Odisha, she joined politics encouraged by her uncle, Harmohan, a social worker to fight the Lok Sabha election.
She won from Keonjhar and is working on empowerment of women and youth, improving access to education, and generating employment opportunities.
Anjali Singh, Wing Commander
Forty-one-year-old Wing Commander Anjali Singh became the first woman to be appointed as a military diplomat in Indian missions abroad.
Wing Commander Anjali Sharma hails from Bihar and in 2001 became a commissioned officer in the Air Force and in 17 years of service has trained on MiG29 fighter aircrafts.
The IAF officer was appointed as Deputy Air Attache at the Indian embassy in Moscow. Anjali's role is to assist in cooperation, training, and procurement in the field of defence between Russia and India.
Samyuktha Vijayan, Swiggy's first transgender employee
Samyuktha Vijayan underwent gender affirmative surgery in Seattle and was welcomed with open arms at her then workplace, Amazon.
She quit her job to move to India to help and support the LGBTQIA+ community with her boutique startup, Toute Studio. This year, she joined food delivery aggregator Swiggy as its first transgender employee, taking up the position of Principal Programme Manager.
She is instrumental in optimising and improving the spaces of transportation and delivery at Swiggy.
Payal Jangid, Youth Activist
Payal Jangid, became the first Indian to win the Goalkeepers Global Changemarkers Award by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The awards ceremony was held in New York. The 17-year-old hails from Rajasthan and has been working towards abolition of child marriage in her village, Hinsla.
Nivruti Rai, Business Leader, Woman in Tech
Nivruti Rai combines tech and leadership seamlessly and has been at the helm of Intel as country head of Intel India and V-P, Data Center Group at Intel Corporation.
With Intel's design and engineering centre being launched in Hyderabad recently, Nivruti has been expanding Intel's footprint in India.
Earlier this year, she was featured on the cover of Forbes India and hailed as one of the most powerful women in business in 2019.
Naaz Joshi, Transgender Model
Naaz Joshi was crowned Miss World Diversity for the third consecutive year. The pageant was held in August in Mauritius with 14 countries participating in the event.
Abandoned by her family as a child, she has overcome many hardships in her journey. She has undergone surgeries for gender change, embraced motherhood, and continues to model for brands.