First Woman in Kerala in Various Fields

According to the Census of 2011, Kerala is one of the only two states in India where women outnumber men, there is no field that Malayali women have not shattered the stereotypes and staked their claim.

Below is the list of First Women in Kerala – another important topic for GK exams – who was brave enough to do so, changed the history, and forged the path for the younger generation.

First Woman in Kerala

Administration & Governance

  • First Woman from Kerala to become part of the Union Government – Lakshmi Nanda Menon. (Deputy Minister, Ministry of External Affairs, 1957 - 1962)
  • First Woman minister of Kerala – K. R. Gowri. (Revenue Minister, first Kerala Ministry in 1957)
    • First Female law student coming from the Ezhava community – K. R. Gowri.
  • First Woman Governor of Kerala – Jothi Venkatachalam. (14 October 1977 - 26 October 1982)
  • First Kerala Woman to become Governor of an Indian State – Fathima Beevi. (Tamil Nadu)
  • First Woman to become an Elected member of any legislature in India – Thottakkadu Madhavi Amma. (Kochi Legislative Assembly, 1925)
  • First Woman to become Deputy Speaker of the Kerala Legislative Assembly – K. O. Aysha Bai. (6 May 1957 – 31 July 1959)
  • First Protem Speaker of the Kerala Legislative Assembly – Rosamma Punnoose.
    • Longest-serving protem speaker – Rosamma Punnoose.
    • First person to be sworn in as a member of the Kerala Legislative Assembly – Rosamma Punnoose.
    • First MLA in India who lost seat following a court order – Rosamma Punnoose.
    • The first person to be elected in the first-ever by-election to the Kerala Legislative Assembly in 1958 – Rosamma Punnoose.
  • First Woman MP (Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha) from Kerala – Annie Mascarene.
  • First Malayali Woman to become Chief Minister of an Indian state – Janaki Ramachandran (Tamil Nadu).
  • First and only Dalit woman to be elected to the Constituent Assembly in 1946 – Dakshayani Velayudhan.
    • First Scheduled Caste Woman Graduate in India – Dakshayani Velayudhan.
    • First Scheduled Caste Woman Science Graduate – Dakshayani Velayudhan.
    • First Scheduled Caste member of the Cochin Legislative Council – Dakshayani Velayudhan.
    • First Woman from the Pulya community to wear an upper cloth – Dakshayani Velayudhan.
  • First Woman Chief-Secretary of Kerala – Padma Ramachandran.
  • First Chairperson of Kerala Women's Commission – Sugathakumari.
  • First Woman to become the Vice-Chancellor of a University in Kerala – Dr. Jancy James. (2004, Mahatma Gandhi University)
  • First Woman Chief Engineer in the Public Works Department (PWD) in Kerala – P.K. Thresia. (1971)
  • First Woman to become Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax DepartmentSasikala Nair. (July 2020)
  • First Malayali Woman of Indian Origin to become a minister in New Zealand – Priyanca Radhakrishnan. (2020)

Arts, Literature & Entertainment

  • First Woman to win Booker Prize* – Arundhati Roy (1997).
  • First Malayali Woman to receive Saraswati Samman – Balamani Amma ("Nivedyam," 1995).
  • First Women’s Magazine in Malayalam – Keraleeya Suguna Bodhini (Trivandrum, 1886).
  • First Women’s Magazine Weekly in Malayalam discussing women's rights – Shrimati.
    • First Women’s magazine weekly in Malayalam was published by – Anna Chandy.
  • First Woman from Kerala to receive Sahitya Akademi Fellowship, a literary honor bestowed by the Sahitya Akademi – Balamani Amma (1994).
  • First Malayalam actress – P. K. Rosi (Vigathakumaran).
  • First Muslim film actress in Kerala – Nilambur Ayisha.First Film acted was – The Elephant Queen (Hindi).
  • First film in Malayalam – Kandam Becha Kottu.
  • First Woman Film Director in Malayalam – Vijaya Nirmala.
  • First woman to win the Kerala State film award for best director – Vidhu Vincent (Manhole, 2016).
  • First Woman to win the National award (Urvasi Award) for acting – Sarada (Thulabharam, 1968).
  • First Malayali Woman recipient of J.C Daniel Award – Aranmula Ponnamma.
  • First Female singer from Kerala to be honored by House Of Commons, British Parliament, United Kingdom* – K.S. Chitra.
  • First Keralite Woman who joined the Film & Television Institute of India – Jameela Malik.

Awards & Honors

  • First Woman in Kerala to receive Padma Bhushan Lakshmi Nanda Menon (1957, Public Affairs).
  • First Tribal Woman from Kerala to receive Padma Shri – Lakshmikutty (Kaani tribe, Thiruvananthapuram, 2018).

Judiciary & Armed Forces

  • First Kerala Woman Judge*Anna Chandy (1937, District Judge (munsif) Travancore by the Dewan Sir CP Ramaswami Iyer).
  • First Woman Chief justice of Kerala High CourtSujata Manohar (April 1994).
  • First Malayali Woman who became Kerala High Court Chief justice K.K. Usha (2000).
  • First Woman to be appointed as the judge of the Supreme Court* Justice Meera Sahib Fatima Beevi (1989, Apex Court judges).
    • The First Muslim woman to get law degree in Travancore – Fatima Beevi.
    • The first Muslim woman to hold the post of Munsiff, Magistrate, District Judge – Fatima Beevi.
    • First Muslim Woman High Court Judge – Fatima Beevi.
  • First Woman to be appointed as Magistrate* Omana Kunjamma.
  • Kerala's First Woman IPS Officer R. Sreelekha.
    • First Woman DGP of Kerala R. Sreelekha.
    • Kerala's First Woman Intelligence Chief – R. Sreelekha.
    • The first woman to become superintendent of police in Kerala – R. Sreelekha.
  • First Malayali Woman to become DGP in an Indian StateLetika Saran (Tamil Nadu, 2010).
  • First Female Merchant Navy Captain* Radhika Menon (2012).
  • First Woman Registrar General of Kerala High Court Sophy Thomas (May 25, 2020).
  • First Woman Excise Inspector of Kerala Sajitha O. (July 2020).

Education, Science & Technology

  • First Woman scientist to head a missile project in India – Tessy Thomas.
  • First Woman Law Graduate in Kerala – Anna Chandy.
  • First Female Surgeon General*Mary Poonen Lukose (1938).
    • First Woman from Kerala to graduate in Medicine – Mary Poonen Lukose.
  • First Malayali woman to become Vice Chancellor of an University – Mariamma Varghese (University of Mumbai, 1996).
  • First woman Vice Chancellor of Kerala – Prof. Dr. Jancy James (MG University)

Sports & Adventure

    • First Woman to qualify for Olympic Games*Sini Abraham.
    • First Indian woman to reach the semi-finals of an Olympic event* Shiny Abraham (Wilson).
    • First Indian woman captain and flag bearer for Indian Contingent for 1996 Atlanta Olympics Shiny Abraham (Wilson).
    • First Woman to reach the final of an Olympic event* P.T. Usha.
    • First Malayali woman to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games – Anju Bobby George.
    • First Woman from Kerala to win the Arjuna Award – K.C. Elamma (1975, Volleyball).
    • First Keralite woman recipient of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna  K.M Beena Mol (2002, Athletics).
    • First Woman from Kerala to win an individual Gold medal at the Asian Games M. D. Valsamma (400 m hurdles, 1982 New Delhi).
    • First Malayali woman selected in 'Indian Senior Woman Cricket Team' from Wayanad, Kerala – Minnumani.
    • Kerala's first woman International Chess Master  Dr. Nimmi M. George.


    • First Woman Journalist of Kerala Yasodha (Deshabhimani).
    • First Woman Saint of the Indian origin Saint Alphonsa.
    • First Woman Ordained Priest in Kerala – Marathakavalli David (1989).
    • First Woman from Kerala to appear on a Postal Stamp Saint Alphonsa.
    • First Woman Commercial Pilot of Kerala – Jeni Jerome.**
    • First-person to speak Malayalam in the UN General Assembly – Mata Amritanandamayi (2000).

    * First in India as well.
    **updated according to current statistics...

    📝 SideNotes

    • Autobiography of Anna Chandy Atmakatha (1973).
    • Tessy Thomas – also known as Missile Woman of India’ & ‘Agniputri’.
    • First person to get MLA seat following a court order V.R. Krishna Iyer.
    • Letika Saran – Second Female DGP of a state in India.
      • DGP – Director General of Police.
    • First Woman Saint of IndiaGonsalo Garcia (born to a Portuguese father & an Indian mother in Vasai near Mumbai,1556).
    • First Women-friendly panchayath in Kerala – Mararikulam South.
    • First Vanitha (all women) Police Station in Kerala Kozhikode City Vanitha Police Station (1973, inaugurated by Indira Gandhi).
    • First Ordained Woman in India – Reverend Sister Elizabeth Paul (1987).
    • Kerala's first International Women's Trade Centre is being proposed at Angamaly.
    • Dakshayani Velayudhan Award – annual award in the honor of Dakshayani Velayudhan, empowering women in Kerala, announced by the Kerala Finance Minister Dr. Thomas Isaac in the 2019 Kerala Budget.