India will be celebrating its 13th National Girl Child Day on January 24 this year. It was started as an initiative by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2008 with the aim of celebrating the girl child. The day is also celebrated to promote awareness about the rights of the Indian girl child and to further increase awareness on the importance of girl child, their education, and health.
National Girl Child Day Origin
National Girl Child day came into existence in the year 2008 when it was announced by the Ministry of Women and Child Development of India. The ministry has said that the purpose of the National Girl Child Day is to promote awareness about gender-based discrimination that girl children face and to bring about positive change in that matter.
Over the years the Indian government has taken some steps that can eventually improve the conditions of Indian girls. Today, several campaigns such as Save the Girl Child, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao are run by the State to strengthen the place of the Indian girl child in society. There are several programs to curb discrimination against women as well such as subsidized education for girl students, reservations for deserving women in colleges.
The Indian government has also issued elementary yet crucial directives for all Indians to adhere to so that a healthier environment for the girl child can be cultivated. Here is a list of those directives:
-Celebrate the birth of a girl child in the family and community.
-Take pride in daughters and oppose the mentality of ‘Bojh’ and ‘Paraya Dhan’.
-Find ways to promote equality between boys and girls.
-Secure admission to & retention of girl child in schools.
-Engage men and boys to challenge gender stereotypes and roles.
-Educate and sensitize our sons to respect women and girls as equal members of society.
-Report any incident of sex determination test.
-Strive to make the neighborhood safe & violence-free for women & girls.
-Oppose dowry and child marriage within the family and community.
-Advocate simple weddings.
-Support women’s right to own and inherit property.
-Encourage women to go out, pursue higher studies, work, do business, access public spaces freely etc.
-Mind his language and be sensitive to women and girls.
To celebrate Indian girl child we at Shiksha news have compiled a list of 10 Indian women that have shattered the glass ceiling and have transformed society in a meaningful way. This is a small effort by us to depict that if the girl child is nurtured and given a positive environment, they can bring about transformative changes in the world.
10 Indian women that shattered the glass ceiling across science and technology, law and justice, entrepreneurship, business, and sports:
Science & Tech
1. Ritu Karidhal
Ritu Karidhal is also known as “Rocket Woman of India”. She was the operations director for the Mangalyaan mission in 2013-2014 which put the name of the country on the list of space leaders. Karidhal has a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from IISC, Bengaluru. Under her cap there are several feathers like being the ISRO Team award for Mars Orbiter Mission, winning the ISRO Young Scientist award from much respected former Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam.
2. Mangala Mani
Mangala was a person who had never witnessed snow in natural surroundings. Until she really did. The 56-year-old scientist was part of a 23-member expedition team to Antarctica. Mani completed a 403-da expedition at Bharti, India’s research station in Antarctica. Her task at the expedition was to operate and maintain the Bharati ground station. In her pursuit, she became the first ISRO scientist to spend more than a year in Antarctica.
Law and Justice
- Zia Mody
Also known as the queen of corporate law, Zia Mody is the founder of corporate law firm AZB & Partners. She is known as a pioneer figure and an authority on business matters like corporate mergers, securities law, private equity, etc.
Her firm AZB & Partners has been a legal partner to one of India’s biggest organizations Reliance Industries. She has also had her fingers in the restructuring of the YES Bank and she also represents Jet Airways’ in its insolvency proceedings.
2. Karuna Nundy
A lawyer serving in the Supreme Court of India, Nundy is known for having her voice heard in the field of human rights and female voices. She has been a pivotal figure in the change of laws through which gender justice has been achieved. With her constitutional acumen and insight into women’s issues, she could help frame the anti-rape bill after the 2012 Delhi gangrape case.
- Divya Gokulnath
A teacher first and an entrepreneur second, Divya is the co-founder of India’s largest EdTech company Byju’s. Before juggling her responsibilities across different business functions at Byju’s, Divya used to teach at the coaching that was run by his husband Byju Ravichandran. Over the years, as Byju grew, Divya’s responsibilities also increased. Today she is involved in content and brand marketing at Byju’ along with keeping an eye on the user experience of the platform.
2. Falguni Nayar
Falguni Nayar is the founder and CEO of Nyka, an omnichannel beauty, and wellness product retailer. The company was started by Nayar in Mumbai has 46 stores across the country. Today Nyka has emerged as the nation’s biggest omnichannel beauty and wellness product retailer and has over a million happy customers under its belt. Under Falguni’s leadership, Nyka was one of the few companies that achieved unicorn status (market valuation of $1 billion or more) in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Bala Devi
Unbeknownst to most, Bala Devi is the first Indian woman to be professionally signed by a professional European football league team. Devi made history one more time again by being the first and so far only Indian woman to score in a league match against a European team. As a youngster, she was criticized by boys for playing football, but her father motivated her. Through her hard work, she ended up beating the odds and realized her dream.
2. Koneru Humpy
Koneru Humpy can also be called India’s Beth Harmon. A superwoman grandmaster and the current number 3, she became the youngest woman grandmaster at the age of 15 years. Over the years she made India proud by winning women’s world rapid champion year after year. Humpy’s focus and dedication made her continue on her journey into the world of chess that is filled with men.
- Arundhati Bhattacharya
Arundhati Bhattacharya was the first-ever woman to be given the title of woman chairperson at the state-run State Bank of India. Bhattacharya is the only corporate leader that has made it to the Fortune’s world’s greatest leaders list. She is ranked 26 on the list. The 64-year-old Indian banker continues breaking her own benchmarks. In 2020, Bhattacharya was hired as the CEO of global CRM giant Salesforce.
2. Zarin Daruwala
Zarin Daruwala currently serves as the CEO of the global banking and finance firm Standard Chartered Bank. Daruwala during her initial days cleared the chartered accountancy examination and received a gold medal. Before working for Standard Chartered, she also worked with the ICICI group where she worked in different departments like investment banking, human resources, etc.
Editor’s note: The personalities in this list have been recognized on the basis of their achievements and the way they have changed India in a meaningful way. In no way is this list final and complete. Hundreds and thousands of influential women are amiss in the list. If a name comes in your head, we congratulate you for recognizing the power of Indian women. You can share the names of these women in the comment section below and celebrate them.