Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership
Republic of India/ Bharat
(Female suffrage 1947) Since 1784 the British gradually took control of the subcontinent, it became independent 1948 and a republic 1950

Also see India Heads and India Parliament

1876-1901 Empress Victoria of India (28.4.1876-22.1.1901)
She was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Queen, Defender of the Faith (20.6.1837 - 22.1.1901). She lived (1819-1901)

1947-57 Minister of Health Rajkumari Amrit Kaur
1951 Minister of Communication
1952 Minister of Communication (from circa 1955 Forth in cabinet)
President of the World Health Assembly in 1950, Member of Rayja Sabha, the Upper House 1957-64. She was a Princess of Kapurthala and lived (1889-1964).

1952-53 Minister of State for Health Maragatham Chandrasekar
1962-64 Minister of State For Home Affairs
1967-67 Minister of State of Health
1985-89 Minister of State of Social Affairs and Women
Secretary General of Congress I In 1972-77 and 1985
and Acting President of the Party in Tamil Nadu in 1985. She lived (1917-2001).

1952-57 Parliamentary Undersecretary of State to the Prime Minister for External Affairs Lakshmi  N. Menon
1957-62 Deputy Minister of External Affairs (Premier Nehru was Minister)
1962-66 Minister of State of External Affairs
Freedom fighter during the British Empire, Chief of the UN Section for the Status of Women and Children In 1949-52, Delegate to the UN 1952-66 and from 1966 lecturer at an University. She lived (1899-1995).

1952-58 Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Tarakeshwari Prasad Sinha
1958-66 Deputy Minister of Finance
Secretary General of Congress I in 1979 and lived (1926-2007).

1953 Minister of State for Health Lady Dhahvanthi Handoo Rama Rau      
She lived (1893-1967).

1957-62 Minister of State for Home Affairs Violet Alva
Member of Bombay Legislative Council 1947-52, In 1953-54 and 1962-69 Vice-Chairperson, 1969 Member of the Panel of Chairmen of Rayjiah Shaba and Acting Chairperson of Rayjiah Shaba the same year. The Vice-President of the Republic is Chair of the Upper House, when he/she acts as President the Deputy Chairperson becomes acting Chairperson of the House. In 1969 she resigned because Indira Gandhi backed someone else as Vice-President of the Nation and she died one week later. A protestant she was married to the catholic Joachim Alva, also MP, mother of 3 children and lived (1908-69).

1961-66 Parliamentary Secretary of Finance and General Administration Manorama Pandey
1972 Deputy Minister of Information and the Home
1972-74 Minister of State

1962-67 Minister of Health Dr. Sushila Nayar
Personal Doctor of Mahatma Gandhi. 1953-55 she was Minister of Health and Transport, 1955-56 Speaker of the Assembly of Delhi. She lived (1914-2001).

1962 Deputy Minister of Education Sudaram Ramachandran

1964-66 Minister of Information Indira Priyadashini Gandhi
1966-77 Prime Minister (24.1-24.3.)
1967-69 Minister of External Affairs
1967-77 Minister of Atomic Energy and Planning
1969-70 Minister of Finance
1971-74 Minister of Information and Broadcasting
1972-77 Minister of Space
1970-73 Minister of Home Affairs
1975-77 Minister of Defence
1980-84
(†)  Prime Minister (14.1-31.10)
1980-83 Minister of Defence
1980-84 Chairperson of the Planning Commission
1984 Minister of External Affairs
Leader of the Congress Party 1959-60 and 1966-77, Member of Rajya Sabha 1964-67 and of Lok Sabha 1967-77. 1978 and 1980-84. In 1975 she declared a stated of emergency and ruled as a dictator. She lost the 1977-elections and was placed in prison. After her release she became leader 1978-84 of Congress (I), Killed by Sikh Life-guard. She was daughter of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru (1947-64
(†)), married to Feroze Gandhi in 1942 and her younger son Rajiv Gandhi was Prime Minister (1984-89(†)). She lived (1917-84).

1965-66 Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr. Sarojini Mahishi
1967-69 Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister
1969-71 Deputy Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation
1971-74 Minister of State of Tourism and Civil Aviation
1974-76 Minister of State for Law, Justice and Company Affairs
Vice-Chairperson of Rayja Sabha 1984-85 and 1986-88. (b. 1927-).

1966-69 Minister of State of Information Nandini Satpathy
1969-70 Minister of State to Prime Minister
1970-71 Minister of State without Portfolio
1971-72 Minister of State of Information
Chief Minister of Orissa 1972-73 and 1974-76 and she was active in state politics until her death. She lived (1931-2006).

1967-69 Minister of State for Social Welfare Phulrenu Guha
1969-70 Minister of State for Law and Social Welfare
Former freedom fighter and MP. She lived (1911-2006).

1966-67 Deputy Minister of Transport Jahanara Jaipal Singh
1967-69 Deputy Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation
1969-70 Deputy Minister of Education
1970-72 Deputy Minister of Youth Service

1971-77 Minister of State of Finance Sushila Rohatgi
1985-86 Minister of State with independent charge of Culture and Education
1986-88 Minister of State of Power, Energy, Petroleum and Natural Gas
1988-89 Minister of State of Home Affairs
Later
Home Minister in Uttar Pradesh. (b. 1921-).

1972-74 Minister of State of Health Saroj Khapade
1976-82 Minister of State of Family Welfare
1984-88 Minister of State of Social Welfare
1988-89 Minister of State of Health
1989 Minister of State of Textiles
Member of the Panel of Vice-Chairperson of Rajya Sabha 1994-2004.

1977-79 Minister of Industry Abna Mati

1977-79 Minister of Culture, Education and Social Welfare Renuka Devi Barkataki (Third in the Cabinet).
Later a leading member of the Red Cross.

1978-82 Joint Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs Manorama Bhalla
Ambassador to Peru 1976-78, Denmark 1982-87, Kenya 1987-89 and to
Spain 1990-95.

1979 Minister of Social Welfare Dr. Sathiavamo Muthu
Minister in the Cabinet of Tamil Nadu 1967-75.

1979-80 Minister of State of Social Welfare Rashida Haque Chowdhury
Her surname is also spelled Chaudhury.

1980-83 Minister of State of Agriculture S.K. Kamla Kumari
1991-93 Minister of State of Social Welfare
A member of the minor royal family of Jubbal, her full name is
Shrimant Kumari Kamla Kumari Devi, and she was a legislator of the Congress. (b. 1932-)

1980-82 Deputy Minister of Information and Broardcasting Kumudben Joshi
1982-84 Deputy Minister of Health and Family Welfare
Governor of Andra Pradesh 1984-89. (b. 1934-).

1980-82 Minister of State of Commerce Ram Dulari Sinha
1982-85 Minister of State of Industry, Steel and Mines
1985-86 Minister of State of Home Affairs
1986-88 Minister of State of Mines
Formerly Minister in Bihar and Governor of Kerala 1988-90,
she lived (1922-94)

1982-89 Minister of State of Culture, Education and Social Welfare Sheila Kaul
1991-95 Minister of Urban Development
1995 Minister of Urban Affairs and Employment
Governor of Himachal Pradesh 1995-96. Accused of corruption on various occations and appeared before court in 2005. (b. 1915-).

1982-83 Minister of State for Labour and Rehabilitation Mohsina Kidwai
1983-84 Minister of State for Health and Family
1984-86 Minister of Health and Family
1986-89 Minister of  Transport, Urban Development and Tourism (Second in the Cabinet)
Initially Minister for Harijan and Social Welfare and then for Small Industries 1974-77 in Uttar Pradesh. In 1976 President of the U
ttar Pradesh Congress Committee, and later Secretary General of the All India Congress Committee. Married her cousin. (b. 1932-).

1984-86 Minister of State with independent charge of Social Welfare Dr. Rajendra Kumari Bajpai
1986-87 Minister of State with independent charge of Labour
1987-89 Minister of State with independent charge of Welfare
Minister in the Cabinet of Uttar Pradesh 1970-77 and 1995-98 Lieutenant Governor of Pondicherry. She lived (1925-99)

1984-85 Minister of State of Parliamentary Affairs Margaret Alva
19856-89 Minister of State for Youth Affairs, Sports, Women and Child Development
1991 and 1993-96 Minister of State with independent charge of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions
1993-96 Minister of State of Parliamentary Affairs
MP 1974-2004. Member of the Panel of Vice-Chairmen of Lok Sabha 1983-85 and 1999-2009, Deputy Chief Whip of the Congress Party 1993-95 and Party Secretary General and in charge of Party Affairs in several provinces until 2008 and Governor of Uttarakhand 2009-12 and Rajasthan from 2012 and was given additional charge of Gujarat and Goa in 2014. Daughter-in-law of Violet Alva. (b. 1944-)

1986-89 Minister of State of Parliamentary Affairs and Minister of State of the Prime Minister’s Office Sheila Dixit
Also known as Sheila Dikshit she was Chief Minister of Delhi 1998-2013 and the President of the State Congress (I), and Governor of Kerala from 2014. (b. 1938-)

1986-89 Minister of State of Education and Culture Krishna Sahi
1988-89 Minister of State of Water Resources
1989 Minister of State of Culture
1991-95 Minister of State of Industrial Relations and Heavy Industry
1995-96 Minister of State of Civil Supplies

1988-89 Minister of State of Welfare Sumati Oraon           
Congress MP through a number of years, she lived (1935-before 2004)

1989-91 Minister of State of Environment and Forests Maneka Gandhi
1990 Minister of State of Program Implementation
1998-99 Minister of State with independent charge of Welfare
1999 Minister of State of Social Justice and Empowerment
1999-2001 First Minister of State with independent charge of Social Justice and Empowerment
2001 Minister of State with independent charge of Culture and additional charge of Animal Care
2001-02 Minister of State with independent charge of Statistics and Programs Implementation with additional charge of Animal Care
2014- Union Minister of Women and Child Development
Leader of Rashtriya Sanjay Vichar Manch 1980-88, Secretary General of Janata Dal 1988-89 and among the leaders till 1996 when she was excluded from the party. She is widow of Sanjey Gandhi, older son of Indira Gandhi, who was killed in a plane-chrash in 1980. (b. 1956-).

1991-93 Minister of State of Human Resources Development for Youth Affairs, Sports, Women and Child Development
1999-2000 Minister of Railways (Fourth in the Cabinet)
2003-04 Minister without Portfolio
2009-11 Minister of Railways
Kumari Mamata Banerjee
Elected MP 1984-89 and in 1991 for the Coungress until she founded the Trimaul Congress Party, which she has chaired from 1998. In 2000 she resigned in protest over the rise of petroleum prizes imposed by the government. Chief Minister of the West Bengal from 2011. (b. 1955-)

1991-93 Minister of State of Human Resources D.K. Tava Devi

1991-93 Deputy Minister of Information and Broadcasting Dr. Girja Vyas

1993-94 Deputy Minister of Civil Aviation (Tourism) Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder
1994-96 Minister of State of Civil Aviation and Tourism

1994-95 Minister of State of Human Resources Development in charge of Women and Children Basava Rajeshwari

1995 Minister of State of Power Urmilabehn Patel

1995-96 Minister of State of Culture and Education Kumari Selja
2004-09 Minister of State with Independent Charge of Urban Employment and Poverty Alleviation
2009-11 Union Minister of Tourism
2009-12 Union Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation
2011-12 Union Minister
with additional charge of Culture
2012-13 Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment
Elected Congress MP in 1991. (b. 1962-).

1995-96 Minister of State of Women’s And Children’s Development Vilma Verma

1996, 1998 and 2001-03 Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Sushma Swaraj
2003-
04 Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs
2014- Union Minister of External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs
Minister of Social Welfare etc. 1977-78 and Minister of Education, Food and Civil Supply in Haryana 1987-88, Member of the Panel of Vice-Chairmen of the Rajya Sabha 1991-98, General Secretary and Spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party, BJP circa 1995-98. 1998 she resigned from the Union Cabinet to become Chief Minister of Delhi, but after a few months she lost the election and was succeeded by Sheila Dixit.
Deputy Leader of BJP in the Rajya Sabha and Spokesperson of the BJP Parliamentary Wing 2004-09, Deputy Leader of BJP in the Lok Sabha in 2009 and Leader of the Opposition 2009-14. (b. 1952-)

1996 Minister of State of Human Resources Development Kanti Singh
1996-97 Minister of State with independent charge of Coal
2004-06 Minister of State of Human Resource Development
2006-08 Minister of State of Heavy Industry
2008-09 Minister of State of Tourism and Culture
Secretary General of RJD 1991-96. (b. 1957-).

1997-98 Minister of State of External Affairs Kamala Sinha
Deputy Parliamentary Leader of Janata Dal 1994-97 and Member of the Panel of Vice-Chairmen of the Rajya Sabha, (b. 1952-).

1997-2013 Minister of State for Coal, Civil Aviation and Parliamentary Affairs Jayanthi Natarajan
2011-13 Minister of State with Independent Charge for Environment and Forestry
Became of the Rajya Sabha in 1986 and Member of the Panel of Vice-Chairmen of Rajya Sabha 1991-97, Co-Founder of Tamil Maanila Congress in the 1990's but later rejoined Congress and became Party Spokesperson. (b. 1954-)

1997-98 Minister of State of Health and Family Welfare Renuka Chowdhury
2004-06 Minister of State with independent charge of Tourism
2006-09 Minister of State
circa 1995-98
f Women and Child Development
Chief Whip of the Telugu Desam Parliamentary Party, Rajya Sabha 1986-98. (b. 1954-)

1997-98 Minister of State of Planning and Programme Implementation Ratnamala Dhareshwar Savanoor
Elected MP for
Janata Dal in 1996. (b. 1950-).

1998-99 Minister of State of External Affairs Vasundhra Raje
1999 Minister of State of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions
1999-2003 Minister of State with independent charge Small Scale Industries, Agro and Rural Industries, Minister of State of Personnel and Training, Public Grievances and Pension, Atomic Energy and the Department of Space
2001-02 Minister of State of Pensions and Minister of State of Planning and Energy
Elected Member of the Lok Sabha in 1989 and in 1997-98 she was Joint Secretary of the BJP Parliamentary Party and C
hief Minister of Rajastan 2003-08 and from 2013. Her full name is Vasundhararaja Rao Scindia and she is daughter of the late Rajmata Vikauaraje Scindia of Gwalivor, who was MP for many years and Vice-President of the BJP. Her sister,
Yashodhara Raje Scindia, was Minister of Tourism in Madhya Pradesh Government 2003-06 and MP from 2007. Vashundhra is married to the former Maharaja of Dholpur (b. 1953-)

1998-99 Minister of State with independent charge of Human Resources Development Sushree Uma Bharati 
1999 Minister of State with independent charge of Youth, Women and Ckunwarkunwarhild Development and Child Development
1999-2000 Minister of State with independent charge of Tourism
2000-02 Union Minister of Youth and Women’s Affairs 
2002-03 Union Minister of Coal and Mines
2014- Union Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation

Chief Minister of Madhyra Pradesh 2003-04. Secretary General of BJP in 2004, before being suspended from the party because of her opposition to the leadership. Also known as Sadhui Uma Shree Bhatari she is a Hindu Nun, and Sushree is her title. (b. 1959-).

1999-2004 Minister of State of Water Resources Bijoya Chakravarty  
Parliamentary Secretary in Assam 1977-79, Deputy Leader in the Rajya Sabha of Janata Party 1986-92. (b. 1939-).

1999-2004 Minister of State of Power Jayawanti Ben Navinchandra Metha
Vice-President of BJP 1993-95. (b. 1938-).

1999-2000 Minister of State of Mines and Minerals Prof. Rita Verma
2000 Minister of State of Health and Family Welfare
2000-01 Minister of State of Rural Development
2001-03 Minister of State of Human Resources Development
Member of Panel of Chairmen of Lok Sabha 1996-97 and 1998-99 sand Whip of the BJP Parliamentary Party in 1998

1999-2001 Minister of State of Human Resource Development Sumitra Mahajan  
2002-
03 Minister of State of Communication and IT
2003-04 Minister of State of Petroleum and Natural Gas
Deputy Mayor of  Indore 1984-85, became Secretary General of the BJP in 1998, Member of the Panel of Chairmen of Lok Sabha 2004-14 and Speaker from 2014. In the 2002 Cabinet only 7 of the 78 members of the government were female. (b. 1943-).

2001-02 Foreign Secretary, Head of the Ministry of External Affairs Chokila Iyer
Worked in the Foreign Ministry since 1965. 1987-90 Ambassador to the Seychelles, 1994-99 to Mexico and 1999-2001 to Ireland, and since 2002 Vice Chairperson of the UN Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes Commission. She belongs to a tribal minority in the region of Sikkim. (b. 1943-).

2003-04 Minister of State of Parliamentary Affairs and of Tourism and Culture Bhavnaben Devrajbhai Chikalia
Executive Secretary of the B.J.P. Parliamentary Wing 1993-96, 1998 Whip of the  B.J.P. Parliamentary Party and 1999 Party Vice President. Chairperson of the Railway Convention Committee 1999-2000. Her name is also transcribed Bhavna Devraj Chikhalia. (b. 1955-).

2003-04 Minister of State of Human Resources Development Jas Kaur Meena
(b. 1947-).

2004 Prime Minister-Designate Sonia Gandhi (15.05-19.05)
2004-06
Chairperson of the National Advisory Council with Cabinet Rank
As President of Congress (I) since
1998, she was charged with forming a government in 1998, but failed. After the elecions that followed, she became Parliamentary Leader
of the whole Parliamentary Party in the Lok Sabha and Leader of the Opposition. In 2004 her party won the elections she named Prime Minister-Designate, charged with forming a new government but desided not to asume the office. She is the widow of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who was killed in 1989. Born as Sonia Maino in Italy (b. 1945-). She instead became Chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party and Head of the United Progressive Alliance and its coordination committee. As Head of the Advisory Council she monitored the implementation of the ruling coalition’s common minimum program, and as President of the Congress she in many ways acts as "Shadow Prime Minister". In March 2006 she resigned from the Parliament after a row over her role as Head of the NAC, but the won the by-election by a margin of 417,000 votes. She is the widow of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who was killed in 1989, and was born in Italy in (1945-).

2004-09 Union Minister of
Social Justice and Empowerment Meira Kumar
2009 Union Minister for Water Resources
Former diplomat, elected MP in 1985,
General-Secretary, All India Congress Committee 1990-1992 and 1996-1999. Resigned 3 days after asuming the post of Minister of Water Resources to become Speaker of the Lok Sabha. She is a Dalit, a member of India’s lowest caste and married to a Supreme Court Lawyer. (b. 1945-).

2004-09 Minister of State of Health and Family Welfare Panabaka Lakshmi
2009-14 Minister of State of Textiles
Elected Congress MP in 1996. (b. 1958-).

2004-09 Minister of State of Rural Development and Parliamentary Affairs Suryakanta Patil
Member of the Rajya Sabha 1986-91 and Congress MP from 1991. (b. 1948-).

2004-09 Minister of State of Social Justice and Empowerment Subbulakshmi Jegadeesan
T
he congress-lead government had a total of 68 members, 7 of whom were women when it was appointed in 2004. She was Tamil Nadu Minister for Small and Cottage Industries 1978-80 and Minister for Social Welfare 1989-91 Deputy General Secretary of the
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) 1999-2004, when she was elected to the Lok Sabha. (b. 1947-).

2006-09 Union Minister of Culture and Tourism Ambika Soni
2009-12 Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting
First General Secretary of the Congress Party and Party Spokesperson 2001-06. After the reschuffle in 2006 there were 2 female cabinet ministers and 6 ministers of state in a government with a total of 83 members.

2006-12 Minister of State of Human Resource Development Daggubati Purandeswari
2012-14 Minister of State of Commerce and Industry

Elected MP in 2004. (b. 1959-).

2007-13 Minister of State of Home Affairs V. Radhika Selvi
Elected MP in 2004. (b. 1976-).

2007-12 President Pratibha Patil
Deputy Minister 1967-72 and Cabinet Minister 1972-83 and Congress Leader and Leader of the Opposition 1979-80 in Maharastra, Deputy Chairperson of the Union Upper House, the Rajya Sabha 1986-88, Governor of Rajasthan 2004-07. (b. 1934-).

2009-14 Minister of State with independent charge for Women and Child Development Krishna Tirath
Member of the Delhi Legislative Assembly 1984-2004, Minister for Social Welfare, Labour and Employment 1998-2003, Deputy Speaker of the Delhi Assembly 2003-04 and elected Member of the Lok Sabha in 2004 and Member of the Panel of Chairmen of Lok Sabha 2006-09. (b. 1955-).

2009-14 Minister of State of External Affairs Preneet Kaur
Elected Congress Member of the Lok Sabha in 1999. Married to former Punjab Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh (Maharaja of Patiala). (b. 1944-).

2009-12 Minister of State of Rural Development Agatha Sangma
Elected Congress Member of the Lok Sabha in 2009. She is daughter of  P. A. Sangma, former speaker of the Lok Sabha and sister of Conrad Sangma, the Leader of the Opposition in Meghalaya. (b. 1980-).

2012-14 Minister of Culture Chandresh Kumari Katoch

2012-14 Minister of State of Tribal Affairs Ranee Narah
Deputy Chief Whip of the Indian National Congress from 2009


2012-14 Minister of State of Urban Development Deepa Dasmunsi

2012-14 Minister of State of Communication and Information Technology Dr. Kruparani Killi

2013-14 Union Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Girija Vyas
Former Minister of State in Rajasthan

2013-14 Minister of State of Health and Family Welfare Santosh Chowdhary

2014- Union Minister of Minority Affairs Dr. Najma A. Heptulla
Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha 1985-86 and 1988-2004 and President of Inter-Parliamentary Union 1999-2002.


2014- Union Minister for Food Processing Indutries Harsimrat Kaur Badal

2014- Union Minister of Human Resource Development Smriti Zubin Irani

2014- Minister of State with Independent Charge of Commerce and Industry and Minister of State of Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman

------

Cabinet from 2014

Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs
See above for her her first appointment in 1996
 
Sushri Uma Bharati, Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation
See above for her her first appointment in 1996

Dr. Najma A. Heptulla, Minister of Minority Affairs

Maneka Gandhi, Minister of Women and Child Development
See above for her her first appointment in 1989

Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Minister of Food Processing Industries

Smriti Zubin Irani, Minister of Human Resource Development

Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State of Commerce and Industry (Independent Charge), Finance and Corporate Affairs

Last update 14.07.14