The steady change in their position can be highlighted by looking at what has been achieved by women in the country:
1848: Jyotirao Phule, along with his wife Savitribai Phule, opened a school for girls in Pune, India. Savitribai Phule became the first women teacher in India.
1879: John Elliot Drinkwater Bethune established the Bethune School in 1849, which developed into the Bethune College in 1879, thus becoming the first women’s college in India.
1883: Chandramukhi Basu and Kadambini Ganguly became the first female graduates of India and the British Empire.
1886: Kadambini Ganguly and Anandi Gopal Joshi became the first women from India to be trained in Western medicine.
1905: Suzanne RD Tata becomes the first Indian woman to drive a car.
1916: The first women’s university, SNDT Women’s University, was founded on 2 June 1916 by the social reformer Dhondo Keshav Karve with just five students.
1917: Annie Besant became the first female president of the Indian National Congress.
1919: For her distinguished social service, Pandita Ramabai became the first Indian woman to be awarded the Kaisar-i-Hind Medal by the British Raj.
1925: Sarojini Naidu became the first Indian born female president of the Indian National Congress
1927: The All India Women’s Conference was founded.
1944: Asima Chatterjee became the first Indian woman to be conferred the Doctorate of Science by an Indian university
1947: On 15 August 1947, following independence, Sarojini Naidu became the governor of the United Provinces, and in the process became India’s first woman governor.
1951: Prem Mathur of the Deccan Airways becomes the first Indian women commercial pilot.
1953: Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit became the first woman (and first Indian) president of the United Nations General Assembly
1959: Anna Chandy becomes the first Indian woman judge of a High Court (Kerala High Court)
1963: Sucheta Kriplani became the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, the first woman to hold that position in any Indian state.
1966: Captain Durga Banerjee becomes the first Indian woman pilot of the state airline, Indian Airlines.
1966: Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay wins Ramon Magsaysay award for community leadership.
1966: Indira Gandhi becomes the first woman Prime Minister of India
1970: Kamaljit Sandhu becomes the first Indian woman to win a Gold in the Asian Games
1972: Kiran Bedi becomes the first female recruit to join the Indian Police Service.
1979: Mother Teresa wins the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the first Indian female citizen to do so.
1984: On 23 May, Bachendri Pal became the first Indian woman to climb Mount Everest.
1989: Justice M. Fathima Beevi becomes the first woman judge of the Supreme Court of India.
1997: Kalpana Chawla becomes the first India-born woman to go into space.
1992: Priya Jhingan becomes the first lady cadet to join the Indian Army (later commissioned on 6 March 1993)
1994: Harita Kaur Deol becomes the first Indian woman pilot in the Indian Air Force (IAF), on a solo flight.
2000: Karnam Malleswari became the first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal (bronze medal in the 2000 Summer Olympics at Sydney)
2002: Lakshmi Sahgal became the first Indian woman to run for the post of President of India.
2004: Punita Arora became the first woman in the Indian Army to don the highest rank of Lieutenant General.
2007: Pratibha Patil becomes the first woman President of India.
2009: Meira Kumar became the first woman Speaker of Lok Sabha, the lower house in Indian Parliament