First Women in India – Armed Forces, Adventure & Literature

First Women in India
This is the third part of the series "A Comprehensive List of First Indian Women in Various Fields" including women who became fore bearers in the fields of Armed Forces, Adventure & Literature.

A Comprehensive List of First Indian Women in Various Fields - Part III

Armed Forces

  • First Female IPS Officer of India – Kiran Bedi (1972).
    • First Woman to be appointed as the United Nations Civil Police Adviser – Kiran Bedi (2003).
  • First Woman Lieutenant General – Puneeta Arora.
  • First Woman Vice-admiral of Indian Navy – Puneeta Arora.
  • First Woman Air Vice-Marshal – Padmavathy Bandopadhyaya.
  • First Lady Cadet of Indian Army – Priya Jhingan (1992).
  • First Indian Woman Merchant Navy Officer – Sonali Banerjee.
  • First Visually Impaired Woman Indian IAS Officer – Pranjal Patil.
  • First Woman DGP (Director General of Police) – Kanchan Chaudhary Bhattacharya (Uttarakhand, 2004).
  • First Indian Female Pilot and Captain of Indian Airlines – Durga Banerjee (1966).
  • First Woman Pilot to fly solo in the Indian Air Force – Harita Kaur Deol (1994).
  • First Transgender Woman to be a Police Officer in India (Dharmapuri) – Prithika Yashini (2017).
  • First Female JAG (Judge Advocate General) officer of the Indian Army to be deployed on a foreign mission – Lt. Col. Jyoti Sharma (2019, Seychelles).
  • India’s First Female military diplomat to be posted in any of the Indian missions abroad – Wing Commander Anjali Singh (2019).
  • First Female officer in India to become the Flight Commander of a flying unit – Wing Commander S. Dhami (2019).
  • First Indian Woman to receive a Gallantry award within the Indian Army (Sena Medal for her acts of bravery in Afghanistan) – Major Mitali Madhumita.
  • First Indian Woman to join the Territorial Army as a jawan – Sapper Shanti Tigga.
  • First all-women crew to fly an Air Force Chetak Helicopter Flight Cadets – Cheryl Dutta & Simran Sodhi.
  • India’s first Female Merchant Navy Captain – Radhika Menon (2012).
  • First Woman Superintendent in Tihar Men’s Jail – Anju Mangla.
  • First Female Firefighter in India – Harshini Kanhekar.
  • First Woman to Receive a Sena Medal – Constable Beema Devi (1990).


  • First Indian Woman to win Booker Prize – Arundhati Roy (1997, God of Small Things).
  • First Woman to receive Jnanpith Award – Ashapurna Devi (1976 - "Prothom Protishruti" written in 1964).
  • First Woman to receive Magsaysay Award – Kamladevi Chattopadhyay.
  • First Indian Woman to win Sahitya Akademi Award – Amrita Pritam.


  • First Indian Woman to climb Everest – Bachendri Pal (1984).
  • First Woman amputee to scale Everest (in World as well) – Arunima Sinha.
  • First Woman to conquer Mt. Everest Twice – Santosh Yadav (ITBP Officer, 1993).
  • First Indian Woman to scale Mt. Everest for the fifth time –  Anshu Jamsenpa.
  • First Indian twins (Women) ever to conquer Mount Everest – Tashi & Nancy Malik.
  • First Woman to cross the English Channel – Arati Saha (1959).
  • Fastest Indian as well as Asian to swim across the English Channel – Anita Sood.
  • First Indian Woman who swam across the Gibraltar Strait – Arti Pradhan.
  • First Woman in the world to swim across sea channels of five continents – Bula Choudhury.
  • First Indian Woman to cross Gobi Desert – Sucheta Kadethankar.
  • First Indian Woman who reached Antarctica – Mahel Moos* (1977).
  • First Indian Woman Scientist who reached AntarcticaAditi Pant (Oceanographer, 1983).
  • First Indian Woman Mountaineer to scale the 7 Continental Peaks (Seven Summits) – Premlata Agrawal.
    • First Indian Woman to step on the Highest Peak of North America – Premlata Agrawal (2013).
    • Oldest Indian woman to scale Mount Everest – Premlata Agrawal (53 years old).
  • First Indian Woman to ski across the South Pole – Reena Kaushal Dharmashaktu.
  • First Indian Woman to reach the North Pole – Preeti Sen Gupta.
  • First Woman to sail around the World in a Yacht – Ujwala Patil Dhar (1987-1988).
  • First Indian Woman Airline Pilot – Sarla Thakral (1936).
  • First Indian Woman Commercial Pilot – Prem Mathur.

📝 SideNotes:

  • Seven Summits – Highest peaks of 7 Continents.
    • First person who conquered 7 summits was – Richard Bass (1985).