Source: Dainik Bhaskar (08-March-2018)

10 Women Who Broke Stereotypes & Took Unusual Career Paths
MANJU YADAV

The story of Manju Devi Yadav – North Western Railway’s first and only woman coolie – is one of struggle, inspiration, and courage. Which is why, on January 20, she’s being recognised for her work at Rashtrapati Bhawan, where she will receive an award from the President.

she wasn’t sure what the award was for or about, and she sounded super nonchalant about it.

Eventually, her colleagues at the Jaipur Railway Station, where she has been working for five years, convinced her to go since this is a big honour for Rajasthan.

Seeing her young husband pass away at a rather young age and being tagged as a ‘widow’ in her early thirties, Manju Devi can’t afford emotions anymore. The wrinkles on her face speak of the hardships she faces on a daily basis.

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JAMITA

A 34-year-old woman has led Jumu’ah, a Friday prayer service of Muslims, here in Kerala, claimed to be the first in the history of the country.
Jamitha, the general secretary of Quran Sunnat Society, took the role of the ‘imam’ of the prayers held at the office of the Society in the Muslim-dominated district yesterday.

Jumu’ah, the congregational prayer held every Friday, is usually led by men.

Around 80 people, including women, gathered to attend the prayers, led by the woman ‘Imam’.

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MAMTA DEVI

Body-builder Mamta Yumnam who bagged a bronze in the 46th Mr Asia for Men & Women held at Tashkent in Uzbekistan from June 2-3, was given a rousing welcome by the All-Manipur Body-building Fitness Association and her family members.

Mamta Devi, along with her husband Borun Yumnam, who also participated in the same meet, landed at Tulihal airport this evening.

Mamta became the first Indian woman to bag a medal in the body-building circuit, by grabbing the bronze in the below 52kg category. Her husband finished fourth in the men’s 80kg category. Borun was a Mr Asia silver medallist in 2009 and finished ninth in the Mr World championship.

Mamta, the mother of three, urged other women interested in body-building to come forward and give a shot to bringing more laurels for the country. After her success in her debut event, she is now eyeing the world championship, which will be held in Madrid in October.

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SEEMA RAO

Seema Rao, also known as India’s Wonder Woman,is India’s first woman commando trainer,having trained Special Forces of India for 18 years without compensation. She is a pioneer in close quarter battle (CQB) — the art of fighting in tight proximity — and is involved in training various Indian forces.Her work was partnered by Major Deepak Rao, who received Presidential rank honor from the Indian President for pioneering close quarter battle training for Indian Army.

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CHANDRANI PRASAD VERMA

Chandrani’s father worked as a mining engineer in Western Coalfields Limited, in Chandrapur, Maharashtra. She had always been fascinated by the stories about the mines that her father shared with her. By the time Chandrani was in Class 10, she had made up her mind to pursue a career in mining.

After finishing her schooling in 1992, Chandrani did a diploma course in Mining & Mine Surveying in 1995 from Govt. Polytechnic College, Nagpur.

After her diploma she wanted to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in mining. However, to her surprise, no engineering college would grant her admission in mining engineering.

Chandrani completed B. E (Mining Engineering) from Ramdeobaba Engineering College, Nagpur, in the first position, with merit, in 1999. She had opened the path for many more girls to follow in her footsteps; after her many girls took up this course and the colleges also did not restrict them.

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AVANI CHATURVEDI, 

Flight Lieutenant Avani Chaturvedi is one of the first female fighter pilots of India. She is from Rewa district in Madhya Pradesh. She was declared as the first combat pilot along with two of her cohort, Mohana Singh, and Bhawana Kanth. The trio was inducted into the Indian Air Force fighter squadron in June 2016. They were formally commissioned by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. On 7 October , 2018 , she was honored with the doctorate degree in Banasthali Vidyapeeth.

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TESSY THOMAS

Tessy Thomas (born in 1963) is an Indian scientist and Director General of Aeronautical Systems and the former Project Director for Agni-IV missile in Defence Research and Development Organisation.  She is the first woman scientist to head a missile project in India. She is known as the ‘Missile Woman’ of India.

Thomas received the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award for her contribution for making India self-reliant in the field of missile technology

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ALISHA ABDULLAH

Alisha Abdullah (born 24 July 1989) is an Indian racing driver. She is the country’s first female national racing champion

She is the first woman to cross the 190 miles per hour or 320 km/ hour speed mark on a superbike, beating 12 men to reach overall third in the competition in 2009. In the championships, Alisha pulled away from men and lead in pole positions in several races. At one time she is considered the second fastest bike racer in Indian among both men and women.

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K.C REKHA

KC Rekha, a 45-year-old mother of four sits alone on an isolated beach of a Kerala fishing village at the crack of dawn, untangling a mess of nylon fishing nets on which her family’s livelihood depends.

Rekha’s seawater-creased, sun-baked fingers finish the task before husband P Karthikeyan arrives for the couple’s voyage into the deep blue Arabian Sea on a small and old single-engine boat.

The Arabian Sea is unusually rough this rainy season and darks clouds are hovering over their heads. But India’s lone licensed deep sea fisherwoman is not bothered.

The couple goes 20-30 nautical miles into the sea in search of fish, without a compass, GPS device, life jackets or any modern navigation equipment.

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SUREKHA YADAV

Surekha Yadav (born 2 September 1965) is a female locopilot (train driver) of the Indian Railways in India,She became India’s first female train driver in 1988. She drove the first “Ladies Special” local train for Central Railways when it was first introduced in the four metro cities by Mamata Banerjee the then Railway Minister, in April 2000. A momentous event in her career was on 8 March 2011, on the International Women’s Day, when she became Asia’s first woman train driver to drive the Deccan Queen from Pune to CST, through difficult but scenic topography, where she was greeted by the then Mayor of Mumbai Shraddha Jadhav, at CST, the headquarter of Central Railway zone. It was Surekha’s dream-come-true as she drove one of the prestigious trains of the Central Railway, which carries the female of name; the Mumbai-Pune Railway Pravasi Sangh (association) strongly supported her to run this train. However, a commonly heard comment on her driving is that “Women don’t drive railway engines’.

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