5 First Women Of The Indian Army Who Broke The Glass Ceiling So We Don’t Have To

5 First Women Of The Indian Army Who Broke The Glass Ceiling So We Don’t Have To

Sangita Chima On Being A School Leader After 19 Male Predecessors Reading 5 First Women Of The Indian Army Who Broke The Glass Ceiling So We Don’t Have To 4 minutes

The battle for gender equality has been on for centuries but time and again, some women have broken the barriers and emerged as beacons of hope for the rest of us. This Army Day, we forward march and salute these 5 fighters in the truest sense!

The 001: The First Woman Cadet to Join the Army, Retd. Major Priya Jhingan

“Create the highest, grandest version possible for your life, because you become what you believe.” – Oprah Winfrey

The one who changed it all for us! Priya Jhingan was 001, the first lady cadet to be commissioned in the Indian Army. A law graduate with a dream to don the olive greens, she was also a silver medalist from her batch of 25 lady officers in 1992-1993.

In her 10-year pre-outlined service in the Judge Advocate General’s department, she was instrumental in several Court Martials, as well as military defences in civil courts. An avid skier and mountaineer, she now passionately operates as a motivational speaker and leadership & soft skills mentor.

The Trailblazer: The First Woman Commando Trainer Seema Rao

“A strong woman accepts the war she went through and is ennobled by her scars.” – Carly Simon

If a clap back to ‘Women are the weaker sex’ was a person, it would be India’s first woman Commando trainer Seema Rao, who has seasoned over 15,000 soldiers in a two-decade-long career in partnership with her husband, Major Deepak Rao.

An expert in Close Quarter Combat with her signature Rao System of Reflex Fire, she beats every stereotype one might hold about a former Mrs India World finalist beauty queen.

Her list of accomplishments include but are not limited to her 8th-degree blackbelt in military martial arts, Para Wings certified skydiving, authorised Jeet Kune Do instructor, 3 Army Chief citations, co-author of 3 books and Nari Shakti Puraskar Awardee.

The Alpha: The First Woman Lt. General Punita Arora

“There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish. – Michelle Obama

A unique soldier with healing hands, Punita Arora is the first woman in India to rise to the second-highest rank Lieutenant General in the Indian Armed Forces as well as Surgeon Vice Admiral in the Indian Navy. She is decorated with 15 medals including the prestigious PVSM, VSM & SM in her 36 years of distinguished service.

She was also the first woman Commander of the Armed Medical Forces College and also co-ordinated research as the Additional Director General of Armed Forces Medical Services.

The Braveheart: The First Woman Sena Medal for Gallantry Awardee Lt. Col Mitali Madhumita

“She remembered who she was, and the game changed.” – Lalah Delia

A decoration given to soldiers for exemplary courage, the Sena Medal for Gallantry found its first female awardee in Lt. Col Mitali Madhumita in 2011.

Lt.Col Mitali was leading the Army’s English Language Training Team in Kabul and the first to reach the Indian Embassy that was under attack by suicide bombers. Unarmed yet fearless, she ran almost 2 kilometres and personally rescued 19 Indian Army officers trapped under the rubble and ensured they received the medical attention they desperately needed.

The Frontrunner: The First Woman Parade Adjutant Capt. Tania Shergill

“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.” – Esteé Lauder

Bagging an honour historically bestowed upon male soldiers, Capt. Tania Shergill became the first woman Republic Day Parade Adjutant in 2020. An officer of the Indian Army Corps of Signals, she also led the all-male contingent on Army Day.

Commissioned as recently as 2017, she is a fourth-generation Army officer and executed her duty flawlessly as the proud nation watched on.

With the dynamics of Indian defence forces keeping up with the times, may these ‘firsts’ lead to many many more!

Know more Changemakers who broke the glass ceilings and made an impact? Share their stories with us using #FSChangemakers @fable.street on Instagram. We’d love to hear from you.