Women and India Part 1

Women and India

Part 2

Women Rulers in India:

  • India for all its patriarchal society, India has had multiple women rulers in the country throughout history.
  • Even in Puranas we have strong female rulers who were known as wise and bold such as Draupadi and Sita etc.

Ancient India:

  • Chandragupta I, founder of the Gupta Empire, ruled the kingdom jointly with his queen Kumara Devi.
  • Prabhavatigupta was the daughter of Chandra Gupta II of the Gupta Empire and the wife of Rudrasena II of the Vakataka dynasty, and performed administrative duties in her kingdom.
  • In the 2nd century BCE, Queen Nayanika (or Naganika) was the ruler and military commander of the Satavahana Empire.

Medieval India:

  • Rudrama Devi was a monarch of the Kakatiya dynasty in the Deccan Plateau with capital at Warangal of present-day Telangana from 1263 until her death.
  • The Gond Rani Durgavati (1524–1564) ruled for fifteen years before losing her life in a battle with Mughal emperor Akbar’s General Asaf Khan in 1564.
  • Chand Bibi defended Ahmednagar against the powerful Mughal forces of Akbar in the 1590s.
  • Jehangir’s wife Nur Jehan effectively wielded imperial power, and was recognised as the real power behind the Mughal throne.
  • Raziya Sultana was the daughter of Mamluk Sultan Shamsuddin Iltutmish who ruled the Delhi Sultanate from 1236 to 20 April 1240.

British Rule:

  • Velu Nachiyar, a queen of Sivaganga estate, was one of the earliest Indian queens to fight against the British colonial power in India.
  • Kittur Chennamma was the Rani of Kittur, who led an armed force against the British East India Company in 1824 in defiance of the doctrine of lapse.
  • Rani Lakshmi Bai, the Queen of Jhansi, led the Indian Rebellion of 1857 against the British in defiance of the doctrine of lapse.
  • Begum Hazrat Mahal, the co-ruler of Awadh, was another ruler who led the revolt of 1857 who refused deals with the British and later retreated to Nepal.


  • Indira Gandhi who was the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru was elected as third prime minister of India in 1966.
  • She also holds the distinction for being the first and, to date, only female prime minister of India.
  • Pratibha Patil served as the 12th and first female President of India spanning from 2007 to 2012.
  • Droupadi Murmu who is serving as the 15th president of India since 25 July 2022.
  • She is the first person belonging to the tribal community and also the second woman after Pratibha Patil to hold the office.