First Women in India – Education, Science & Medicine

First Women in India
The second part of the four-part series covering First Women in India in the field of Education, Science & Technology & Medicine.

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

Education, Science & Technology

  • First Women Graduates of India – Kadambini Ganguly & Chandramukhi Basu (1883).
  • First Woman Honors Graduate – Kamini Roy (1886).
  • First Indian Woman with Ph.D. In Science – Kamala Sohonie.
  • First Woman Headmistress in school – Savitribai Phule.
  • First Woman Vice-Chancellor – Najma Akhtar (Jamia Millia Islamia, 2019).
  • First Woman Engineer of India – A. Lalitha (Electrical Engineer).
  • First Woman Chief Engineer – P.K. Thresia (Kerala PWD, 1971).
  • First Indian Woman Scientist to head a missile project in India – Dr. Tessy Thomas (Agni missile series).
  • First Indian Woman scientist who was selected as a fellow in London's Royal Society (FRS) – Dr. Gagandeep Kang (2019).
  • First Woman Astronaut – Kalpana Chawla.
  • First Indian Woman in space – Kalpana Chawla (1997).
  • First Indian Woman to receive Doctorate in Science from an Indian institute – Dr. Asima Chatterjee.
    • First Woman to win Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize – Dr. Asima Chatterjee (1961).
    • First Woman Scientist to become President of Indian Science Congress Association – Dr. Asima Chatterjee (1975).
  • India's First Test-tube Baby – "Durga” (Kanupriya Agarwal, 3 October 1978 by Dr. Subhash Mukhopadhyay)*.


  • First Woman PhysicianAnandibai Gopalrao Joshi (1886).
    • First Woman trained in Western medicine.
    • First Indian Woman to travel to the United States of America.
    • Enrolled in the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania.
    • Biography –  Caroline Wells Healey Dall (1888).
    • Joshee – Crater in Venus named after Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi.
    • Died at the age of 22 (Tuberculosis).
    • 2019 – Marathi film named "Anandi Gopal" starring & Lalit Prabhakar
  • First Indian (as well as in South Asia) Woman Physician trained in western medicine, to graduate in South Asia – Kadambini Ganguly.
    • First female doctor to practice medicine in India.
    • Second Female Physician as well as in the entire British Empire.
  • First Woman SurgeonDr. Prema Mukherjee.
  • First Female Surgeon General of IndiaMary Poonen Lukose (1938).
* Often confusion arises on the topic who is the first female doctor in India between Anandibai Joshi & Kadambini Ganguly. Anandbhai was the first to get medical degree but due to her tragic death, she was unable to practice it in India whereas Kadambini Ganguly got her medical education in India and became the first female physician to start medical practice in India.

    📝 SideNotes:

    • First Female Employment Office – Jaipur.
    • 3 craters on Venus named after 3 Indian Woman –
      • Joshee Crater – Dr. Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi,
      • Medhavi Crater – Ramabai Medhavi, a women’s rights activist,
      • Jhirad Crater – Jerusha Jhirad, a transformative physician.
    • The Borlaug Award is an award created in 1972 for outstanding Indian scientists for their research and contributions in the field of agriculture and the environment in honor of Nobel Laureate Norman E. Borlaug.
    • Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize – science award in India given annually by the CSIR for outstanding research in biology, chemistry, environmental science, engineering, mathematics, medicine, and Physics.
    • Tessy Thomas – also known as ‘Missile Woman of India’ and ‘Agniputri’.
    • Test tube baby – Durga is the first test-tube baby and world's second, but media publicity was given to Harsha, being the first test-tube by Dr. Indira Hinduja who was born on 6 August 1986, another claim being Kruti Parekh born 1984.
    • First Test tube in South India – Kamala Rathinam (August 1, 1990, GG Hospital; by Dr. Kamala Selvaraj→daughter of Gemini Ganesan).