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 DGP (Director General of Police) – Kanchan Chaudhary Bhattacharya (Uttarakhand, 2004).
  • First Transgender Woman to be a Police Officer in India (Dharmapuri) – Prithika Yashini (2017).
  • First Woman Superintendent in Tihar Men’s Jail – Anju Mangla.


  • First Woman Lieutenant General – Puneeta Arora.
  • First Lady Cadet of Indian Army – Priya Jhingan (1992).
  • First Indian Woman to join the Territorial Army as a jawan – Sapper Shanti Tigga.
  • 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 Woman to Receive a Sena Medal – Constable Beema Devi (1990).
  • 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 woman officer deployed in Siachen – Captain Shiva Chouhan (Fire and Fury Corps).
  • First woman medical officer to be deployed at Siachen, the highest battlefield in the world – Captain Geetika Koul (Snow Leopard Brigade).


  • First Woman Vice-admiral of Indian Navy – Puneeta Arora.
  • First Woman Commanding officer in an Indian Naval Warship – Commander Prerna Deosthalee (2023).
  • First Female Pilot in Indian Navy – Shivangi Swaroop (Member of the first female batch of Ezhimala Naval Academy).

Air Force

  • First Woman Air Vice-Marshal – Padmavathy Bandopadhyaya.
  • First Woman Pilot to fly solo in the Indian Air Force – Harita Kaur Deol (1994).
  • First Female officer in India to become the Flight Commander of a flying unit – Wing Commander S. Dhami (2019).
  • First all-women crew to fly an Air Force Chetak Helicopter Flight Cadets – Cheryl Dutta & Simran Sodhi.
  • The First Woman Air Force officer to win the Indian Air Force Gallantry Medal – Wing Commander Deepika Mishra.


  • First Indian Woman Merchant Navy Officer – Sonali Banerjee.
  • India’s first Female Merchant Navy Captain – Radhika Menon (2012).
  • First Indian Female Pilot and Captain of Indian Airlines – Durga Banerjee (1966).
  • First Female Firefighter in India – Harshini Kanhekar.
  • First Visually Impaired Woman Indian IAS Officer – Pranjal Patil.


  • 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).