Women are breaking boundaries, challenging stereotypes and doing it all on their own terms. Here are some inspirational women you need to know about.

“You get in life what you have the courage to ask for” – Oprah Winfrey

Whatever you do, if you do it differently you’ll stand out. Being different isn’t a bad thing – it just means you’re brave enough to be yourself.

Nothing could be more accurate or spot-on for the working women of today. It is now up to every woman to script her own success story. So, on this Women’s Day, let’s read about the journeys of some inspirational Indian women who have set benchmarks in their chosen fields.


1. Anpu Varkey, Graffiti Artist

It was while living in Bremen, Germany, that Anpu Varkey, a New Delhi-based street artist and painter, had her very first rendezvous with street art. She was intrigued by how feelings were expressed on the streets with the help of paint. That’s when the transition from a studio painter to street artist transpired.

Since 2011, the year Anpu moved back to India, she’s been honing her craft by working on big murals and also participating in and co-organising a variety of street art festivals. Jaba, her first graphic novel, was published in 2014 and takes a look at the daily life of her cat. She is, in fact, well-known for her cat-themed murals – her signature. The same year she teamed up with German artist Hendrik Beikirch to paint the tallest (158 ft) mural in Delhi. This work of art was completed in five days and was a dedication to Mahatma Gandhi. It’s not just in India that Anpu is popular; she’s leaving her mark on walls across the world.

2) Priyanka Kochhar, Professional Biker

A motorcycle breakdown is what piqued the interest of Priyanka Kochhar, who’s hung around automobiles ever since she can remember. Apart from whizzing around on her KTM Duke 200, this trailblazer is also a model in India and abroad. Priyanka’s tryst with bikes began in 2014. She never imagined at the time that the inclination to dash through the busy streets of Mumbai would emerge into a full-fledged passion. All it took was a zeal for adventure and her trusty Royal Enfield Classic 350 – and the rest is history.

In a world of male-dominated petrolheads, spirited Priyanka is breaking stereotypes. She’s learning to pop a wheelie and improving her knowledge about bikes every day, though she already knows enough to ride the length and breadth of India while making passers-by swoon with her smouldering looks.

3) Avani Chaturvedi, Flying Officer - IAF

Avani Chaturvedi is the first Indian woman to fly a MiG-21 fighter aircraft in her first solo sortie. Avani was part of a three-woman group from the Indian Air Force that was the first to undertake fighter pilot training – another feather to add to her already illustrious hat.

This extraordinary woman from Madhya Pradesh comes from a family of army officers, and the military life they led has inspired her. She gained flying experience through a club in college, and eventually this love for flying encouraged her to join the IAF. Her first solo sortie is only a stepping stone before she’s fully operational and ready to be deployed, so Avani still has to learn all the intricacies of flying the fighter.

4) Radhika GR, Mountaineer

Radhika GR is figuratively and literally on top of the world. She scaled the highest mountain in all of Europe and Russia – Mount Elbrus, which is a lofty 18,550 feet. This adventurous supermom chose to climb the mountain from the road less travelled in the north as opposed to the trek-friendly south. How often have you heard of an Indian woman police officer achieving something like this?

Hailing from Telangana, Radhika has made the district of Chittoor proud by being the first Indian woman to wear a uniform while doing what she does. Radhika cleared the police exams and became a Deputy Superintendent in 2007. It was after a trek to Mount Kailash on foot in 2012 that she decided to take up mountaineering. She has also climbed Mt Everest, Mt Kosciuszko (Australia), Mt Kilimanjaro (Africa) – apart from Kangri, Kun, Menthosa, and Golep in India.

5) Sneha Khanwalkar, Music Director

Sneha Khanwalkar is well-known for creating songs that are contemporary and creative. She was born and brought up in Indore. Her mother’s family was a part of the Gwalior Gharana of Hindustani music and, as a child, she was taught music. After juggling multiple career choices – art direction, engineering, animation – Sneha ultimately found her calling and true passion in music direction. Today, in Bollywood’s male-dominated music industry, she is the only woman music composer. Her unassuming tunes in Gangs of Wasseypur, Love Sex aur Dhokha, Khoobsurat and Oye Lucky Lucky Oye embody the fusion between modern and traditional India.

After 28 long years, only the second woman up for nomination, Sneha was nominated for the category of Filmfare’s Best Music Director for the movie Gangs of Wasseypur Part 1 and 2 in 2013.

The days of women shying away from certain professions or fields, thinking they won't be able to do them justice, are over. Every day, women are setting foot into uncharted territories fearlessly and unabashedly. From fashion to travel, investment to e-commerce, fitness to art, women are forging ahead with resourcefulness, spirited initiative, and unbridled enthusiasm to make a difference and leave inspiration in their wake