Indra Nooyi: The Madras-born Nooyi is the president and chief executive officer of PepsiCo, the world`s fourth-largest food and beverage company. According to Forbes magazine`s 2006 poll, Nooyi is the fourth most powerful woman in the world. Fortune Magazine selected her as the Most Powerful Woman in Business in 2006. She would take over as chairperson of PepsiCo on May 2, 2007.
Sonia Gandhi: The Congress president and the chairperson of the ruling United Progressive Alliance, Sonia was named the third most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine in 2004 and currently ranks 13th. She said Ã‚Â‘noÃ‚Â’ to prime ministership in 2004. But she wields more power and the Opposition parties call her the Ã‚Â‘super PM.
Shilpa Shetty The Bollywood actress was crowned the winner of the Celebrity Big Brother with 63 percent of the final vote. She became the first Indian to win a British reality show. Though Shilpa was subjected to Ã‚Â‘racist bullyingÃ‚Â’ in the Big Brother house, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise Ã‚Â– she won global attention and is flooded with offers, including those from Hollywood.
Aishwarya Rai: The 1994 Miss World is one of the biggest names in Bollywood. She has made international headlines and she has brought Indian beauty into global focus.
Sania Mirza is the highest ranked female tennis player ever from India, with career high rankings of number 31 in singles and 24 in doubles. She became the first Indian woman to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament at the 2005 US Open. She has notched up three top 10 wins against Svetlana Kuznetsova, Nadia Petrova and Martina Hingis.
Medha Patkar is one of IndiaÃ‚Â’s most energetic activists. She is loved by millions of Indians. She left her position on the faculty of Tata Institute of Social Sciences when she became immersed in the tribal and peasant communities in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. She founded the Narmada Bachao Andolan to fight for lakhs of people ousted by the Sardar Sarovar Dam and other large dams along the Narmada river.
Arundhati Roy: Arundhati won the coveted Booker Prize in 1997 for her first novel The God of Small Things. She put the Indian writing in the world radar with her novel. She is an activist who has been fighting against globalisation.
Kiran Bedi is the first woman to join the Indian Police Service. She influenced several decisions of the IPS, particularly in the areas of control over narcotics, traffic management and VIP security. During her stint as the Inspector General of Prisons, Tihar Jail, she instituted a number of reforms in the management of the prison and initiated a number of measures such as detoxification programmes, yoga and meditation.
Mata Amritanandamayi: is a spiritual leader revered by her followers as a saint. She is a widely respected humanitarian and called by some `the hugging saint`.
Irom Chanu Sharmila is known for her campaign against the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 in Manipur. She resorted to hunger strike demanding the repeal of the AFSPA, on November 2, 2000, after soldiers of the Indian Paramilitary Assam Rifles allegedly killed ten young Meitei men in Malom.