Women have always been perceived as the weaker of the two sexes. Anything that requires a “pair of balls” is immediately considered out of a woman’s reach. They are always seen as more inclined towards household work (except for heavy duty work that is moving furniture and renovations). And it’s also just not about underestimating their physical capacities. ‘Women are emotional and hence, mentally weak’ is another stereotype that has been flying around for centuries. All of these stereotypes make women seem unfit for taking charge which is why, women are often (read: always) shut down before they can even attempt taking flight.

So, perhaps, that is why it is that much more inspiring when a woman pulls through the cracks, fights her way up, persists and manages to prove that yes, she can. Here are some women who, in the inhibiting Indian society, left their mark and empowered women to push for gender equality.

Laxmi Saa

Womens Day Breaking Stereotypes

After having taken the bold step of refusing a marriage, Laxmi was attacked with acid by her would-be husband and two other men. She survived the deadly ordeal and campaigned against such violence. She proved that you can never silence a woman who will give anything to stand up for herself.

Karnam Malleswari

Womens Day Breaking Stereotypes

Men open doors for women, offer to lift their baggage because they think they are more capable of conducting physical activities. Well, what does one have to say for Karnam Malleswari, who became the first Indian woman to bag an Olympic medal in WEIGHT-LIFTING.

Mayanti Langer

Womens Day Breaking Stereotypes

Women are always pulled out of sports, and people assume that they would never even show the slightest interest when Kohli hits a century, or when Nehwal wins a singles match. When in reality, one of the most prominent faces in sports journalism is that of Mayanti Langer, who grew up playing football and has hosted several international sports events.

Roshni Sharma

Womens Day Breaking Stereotypes

Killing two birds with one stone, Roshni Sharma proved that women are not incapable of driving and also that they can travel solo. She rode her bike all by herself from Kanyakumari to Leh over 14 days.

Suhasini Mulay

Womens Day Breaking Stereotypes

Right after they graduate school, families start to search for the “perfect match” for their little girls, hoping to get them hitched before their face breaks the first wrinkle. However, that is not the case with Indian actress Suhasini Mulay. She stayed unmarried until she was 60, stepping into the sacred bond only on her own terms.

Bachendri Pal

 

Womens Day Breaking StereotypesBack when it wasn’t mainstream, Indian mountaineer Bachendri Pal embarked on her perilous ascent of the world’s highest peak, the Mount Everest. She became the first Indian woman to scale the peak in 1984.

Chanda Kochhar

Womens Day Breaking Stereotypes

Given that women don’t have the brains or the balls, it is so very obvious that they can’t be leaders, isn’t it? Wrong! And Chanda Kochhar, CEO and MD of ICICI Bank, has proven that competence is not a factor to be judged by gender.

Sushmita Sen

Womens Day Breaking Stereotypes

Be it divorcees or widowers, women with kids are often pitied for having to live through the pain of bringing up their children by themselves. However, Bollywood actress Sushmita Sen quashed this stereotype when she adopted a girl as a single mother in 2000.