India’s top 10 women newsmakers of 2016

Tanvi Dubey
22nd Dec 2016
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What is the one thing that drives success? It is courage, determination, passion, being true to yourself or a combination of it all?

These women had what it takes to succeed and be on the top. As we roll out the red carpet for 2017, let’s look at the top 10 women who have made their mark in the world with their success in 2016.

P V SindhuP V Sindhu ruled the world of sports this year. From being the first Indian woman to win the Silver medal at the 2016 Olympics, she has shown what it takes to be a champion.

At the 2016 Rio Olympics, she defeated world number 2 Spaniard Carolina Marín and secured us a silver medal.

The 21 year old is the fifth female Indian athlete to win a medal at Olympics and the fourth Indian to win a silver at the Olympics.

In 2009, at the age of 13, she won a bronze at the sub-junior Asian Badminton Championships. At the age of 18, she was awarded the Arjuna award for outstanding achievement in National sports.

Sakshi Malik – The Indian freestyle wrestler Sakshi Malik broke stereotypes and did it in style. She is the first Indian female wrestler to win a medal at the Olympics and the fourth woman Olympic medalist in the country.

Sakshi won a bronze medal for India in the 58 kg category at the Rio Olympics 2016 and previously clinched the silver in the Commonwealth games 2014 and bronze at 2015 Asian Wrestling Championship. The 23-year-old began training in wrestling at the age of 12 years in her hometown Mokhra village, Rohtak district in Haryana.

Dipa Karmakar – One of the best surprises this year was Dipa Karmakar, an artistic gymnast and the first Indian female gymnast ever to compete in Olympics and the first Indian gymnast to do so in 52 years. The 23 year old hails from Agartala in Tripura and started practicing gymnastics at the age of six.

At Rio Olympics 2016, she attained fourth position in Women’s Vault Gymnastics. She also happens to be the fifth woman in the world who landed the Produnova, one of the most difficult vaults currently performed in women's gymnastics.

Nidhi Agarwal of Karyaah says, “Their incredible demonstration of strength and ambition is a new benchmark for the entire country, not just women. Given their example, now more than ever, I have faith that much can be achieved on the back of persistence.”

Indra Nooyi ‑ Indian-American PepsiCo CEO and Chairperson, Indra Nooyi made it to the Fortune’s most powerful women in the world list. Ranked second on the list, she leads a company that has more than $63 billion in annual net revenue, and more than $35 billion in the US alone. PepsiCo is the largest US food and beverage company with about 110,000 employees and 100 plants across the country.

During the general election, Indra was a known supporter of Trump's Democratic rival Hillary Clinton but recently joined Donald Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum, which will assist the president-elect in implementing his economic agenda. Chennai-born Indra, 61, is the only Indian-American executive in the 19-member Strategic and Policy Forum.

Priyanka Chopra – Priyanka Chopra leads the way in debunking stereotypical moulds that define gender roles.

When she was crowned Miss World at the age of 18, who knew she was truly going to conquer the world. The Bollywood star has become the face of India after she accepted projects in the US. She is now making waves in the Hollywood TV series Quantico, where she plays an FBI and subsequently a CIA officer. While working on her ‘foreign assignments’ she has her feet firmly planted in India. As a producer, her debut Marathi film was launched this year. With her Purple Pebble Pictures, Priyanka also has a Bhojpuri and Punjabi movie in the pipeline.

She was also named the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, last week. The international icon has been associated with the world welfare body for over a decade and was conferred this title due to her extensive work in child rights, on its 70th anniversary.

Arundhati Bhattacharya - Arundhati Bhattacharya, 60, is the Chairperson of the State Bank of India and the first woman Chairperson of State Bank of India. She was appointed in 2013. Listed as the 25th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes this year, she is one of the faces of the industry.

She hails from Kolkata and during her tenure as Chief General Manager of the bank, she undertook various initiatives such as SBI General Insurance, SBI Macquarie Infrastructure Fund and SBI SG Global Securities Private Ltd., which were introduced for the masses.

Chanda Kochar- The Managing Director and CEO of ICICI Bank, Chanda Kochar’s role has been pivotal in shaping the retail banking in India. In 2016, she was ranked 40th on India Today’s ‘High and Mighty Power List 2016’ and 22nd position in the Forbes Asia’s ‘50 Power Businesswomen List 2016’.

(image credit- commons)

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw – At a time when entrepreneurship was not a word that rolled off tongues easily or had not even been heard, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw started her own company.

Listed this year at the 77th position in Forbes most powerful woman in the world list, she is the Chairman and MD of Biocon, a Bengaluru-based biotechnology company. Kiran has consistently made to multiple such lists over the years and continues to be a role model for entrepreneurs. In an earlier interview to YourStory she had said, “I always tell women, it's all in your mind. Why should you feel that because you are a woman you can't do certain things? What can't you do? Please tell me.”

Deepika Padukone – Not only does she beat her male co-stars in height by a few inches but in being a crowd puller too. Deepika is one of the established actors in the industry and has broken the record by being paid more than her male co-stars reportedly.

For years there has been a discrepancy in the amount paid to male and female actors. Looks like things are changing with Deepika.

She founded the Live Love Laugh foundation after she was diagnosed with depression during the peak of her career.

She came out in the open and spoke about her own struggle with depression, showing the way forward for many others to come and talk about their own struggle.

Sushma Swaraj – Even kidney failure couldn’t keep Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External affairs, from doing her job. While she was admitted, she continued to look into matters under her purview. This former Supreme Court lawyer and BJP leader is the second woman to be India’s Minister of External Affairs, after Indira Gandhi.

With so many ministers using Twitter as their personal mouthpiece, this lady has shown that how technology and social media can be used to cut red tape and get things moving. She has actively been helping people out while undergoing treatment herself. That is what we truly mean when we say ‑ lead by example. In 1977, at the age of 25, she became the youngest cabinet minister of Haryana.

Actor and standup comedian Sumukhi Suresh says, “This year and every year hats off to Angela Merkel for being a badass, Sushma Swaraj for ownership, and Dipa Karmakar, P V Sindhu, and Sakshi Malik for Rio Olympics.”

With established businesswomen and the leaders of the banking industry, who have been a continuous source of inspiration, the surprise package was the trio of sportswomen who shone at the Rio Olympics 2016. With Priyanka and Deepika taking up international projects, we are truly getting global.

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