From Toppers In Civil Services To Olympics: Women Who Made Their Way To The Peak

Ummul Kher who battled bone disorder, dealt with unsupportive parents, lived in a slum and still cracked UPSC exam.


Suffering from fragile bone disorder right from childhood, odds were always against Ummul Kher.

Determination & sheer merit were her strongest pillars

Her parents ‘disowned’ her saying she had now got more education than a girl should when she was aspiring for education beyond Class 8. She took up a place in Jhuggi Jhopri, for which she paid out of the money she earned from tuition.

She went on to get admission and graduated from the esteemed Delhi University, which followed JNU for her Masters.  She cracked the civil services exam in her first attempt, got all India rank 420 and is now set to become an IAS officer.

Saina Nehwal won bronze at the 2012 London Olympics.


Twenty-five year old Saina Nehwal is one of the most iconic athletes in India. She is the first Indian to reach the top of the women’s singles badminton rankings.

The journey from early struggles to global fame

Her father had a fixed income as a government servant, couldn’t afford equipment and coaching fee and borrowed money from her friends and colleagues.

Saina is the highest paid badminton star in the country in terms of endorsement deals worth more than a million dollars annually.

‘Thanks to her Olympic bronze sports reached to greater heights in India with thousands following her onto the court, especially young girls’. This, according to the star, is her biggest win.

Individual excellence and social change: Between the lines of Tina Dabi’s IAS success story.


First ever Dalit girl to top the UPSC examination, in her first attempt! which marked one of complex and deep social change in India.

After she scored 100 percent in Political Science and History in the Class XII ICSE board, she topped Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University, and earned the title ‘Student of the Year’.

Is Tina aware of how this is a moment of phenomenal achievement for others in her community? Her passion, she once said, is breaking gender barriers. She also took up posting in Haryana, a state which ails with cases of crimes against women, to deal with the injustice present against women there.

Mary Kom: Punching above her weight


In her village, children still work in the paddy fields and do household chores.

But unlike others, Mary dared to look beyond.

She defied her parents, bypassed the tradition, took on the system, and won.

Five times world champion Mary Kom fought against all odds.

Two of her world titles came after the birth of her twins. She was blessed with a third son in May, nine months after winning an Olympic bronze. From ‘Magnificent Mary’, she suddenly became ‘Brand Mary’. The Olympic bronze made her the poster girl of Indian sports.

These women have shown the world what women can do irrespective of the fact that they have to undergo difficulties beyond imagination.

Rishabh Kumar
Rishabh Kumar

A soon to be tech graduate who has a knack of writing and a sack full of dreams.

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