‘The whole world is a stage, and all the men and women merely actors’, Shakespeare said.
But, when we sit to unpack the line there are layers of differences in it.
We cannot unsee the different levels of accessibility that people from differing communities have in the world.
Women have been suppressed and denied rights forever in the world. But women have constantly fought against this. They have carved a niche for themselves and others.
We see women in power in all fields at present.
They are ruling, creating, leading, and celebrating themselves.
And now, we can see women in the administrative as well.
Although, we cannot deny that the men-women ratio is still not equal. And, the number of female IAS officers in India is low. But we are pushing the envelope in the right direction.
Today, we look into these inspiring women warriors in our administrative forces.
- Anna Rajam Malhotra
- Tina Dabi
- S Dhivyadharshini
- Shreya P Singh
- Beela Rajesh
- Anamika Singh
- Sarjana Yadav
- Vijaya Rani
- Pavneet Kaur
- Ananya Das
- Pamela Satpathy
Let’s begin with the first female IAS officer of India?
1. Anna Rajam Malhotra
Anna was part of the 1951 Tamil Nadu cadre.
Her colleagues from that time called her the woman with the power. They said she had the resilience to fight the toughest of challenges that came her way. She was the secretary in agriculture and always took the right decision. She still remains one of the many inspirations to young women who get into the civil services today.
She once said:
It was the men colleagues who were afraid that women would be unable to take important administrative decisions or use power
But, Anna took up the challenge and proved them wrong.
Now, let’s look at some more female IAS officers in India who are currently in power. Women who are breaking stereotypes every day. Women who are acing their job as a collector, sub-collector, or magistrate.
2. Tina Dabi
Back in 2015, all media houses in newspapers were abuzz with the news of two joint UPSC toppers. One of them was Tina Dabi from Rajasthan topping the UPSC exam.
UPSC is one of the toughest examinations across the world and Dabi was the first-ever scheduled caste woman to rank first in it.
She had the dream of becoming an IAS officer and she pursued her dream, relentlessly. Tina was always interested in political science and wanted to pursue it.
After her selection, she joined the Rajasthan cadre. Currently, she is the Join Secretary of Finance of the Rajasthan government. Tina also aims to be part of the cabinet ministry.
You can follow her on Instagram at @dabi_tina
3. S Divyadarshini
Divyadarshini became one of the youngest female IAS officers in India (2010).
She decided to become a civil servant to serve the nation. She believed that it would help her bring positive changes to society.
It took her two attempts to crack the examinations. Divyadarshini knew that she had done well. But she did not expect to top the examinations, later which she did. It was a sweet surprise for her when she topped the examination.
She finds the internet as one of the biggest sources that have helped her achieve the rank she did.
She became the first collector of Ranipet district, Tamilnadu.
Divyadarshini has had a long list of other works to her credits in a decade-long service now.
4. Shreya P Singh
An IAS officer from the 2013 batch, Shreya P Singh got into the services to help the underprivileged.
She wanted to help those who do not have a voice in society. She started her career as an IRPS officer and later moved on to become a collector.
She has jumped a lot of postings so far and is working in her current posting as Tamilnadu’s commissioner.
She is a hard worker and is dedicating all her time to the welfare of the state.
Shreya believed in the organization of thoughts and plans. She then went on to systematically work on them to succeed in the examination.
And, surely she did.
5. Beela Rajesh
Last year, when the first wave of the pandemic struck India, every sector of the country was working hard.
The TN population would turn to their TVs to see Beela Rajesh brief the COVID numbers for the day. She became a household name and also women of the state became admirers of her saree collection. But, truly, Beela Rajesh is a master of many trades.
Currently, Beela Rajesh holds the position of the Health Secretary of Tamil Nadu.
She started her career as a civil servant from Bihar. She was posted as the Assistant Collector of Bhojpur.
She graduated as a medical student and has extensive knowledge in the medical field and had to face multiple challenges as the health secretary. One huge challenge was the nine maternal deaths due to infected blood.
She also dealt with doctors who failed at their duties. The high-profile job as an IAS has been tiring and heavy on her. But, she handled all of them like a boss.
You can follow her on Twitter at @DrBeelaIas
6. Anamika Singh
IAS Anamika Singh currently serves as the Secretary of Basic Education in Uttar Pradesh. One of the most popular administrative officers, she is a crowd favorite in UP.
She was part of the 2004 batch and was the director of NITI Aayog, ending her tenure in May 2021.
She was one of the first few people who have been working close to the new developmental policy.
Similarly, Anamika has many credits up her sleeve. She believes that one needs to choose the unconventional path to do what one always wanted to.
Chasing dreams is easier when you know what you are going for!
7. Sarjana Yadav
Sarjana left her job to pursue civil services in 2018. But, it was a long journey that Yadav was going to scale.
She failed the first two attempts she tried and finally, cracked the exam in 2019, with her third attempt.
Sarjana ranked 126 without any formal coaching.
She believes that self-study is enough with the right form of passion and guidance.
Currently, she serves as the Assistant Commissioner of South West, Delhi.
Follow her on Instagram at @sarjana_yadav_ias
8. Vijaya Rani
Vijaya Rani is an embodiment of how resilience and power meet.
She shows how there is always a blast waiting to happen.
Dr. J Vijaya Rani IAS is the district collector of Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu.
She became the collector during the reshuffling of the cabinet after the 2021 elections and was posted when MK Stalin took charge as the Chief Minister.
She is also part of the 2013 Tamil Nadu cadre.
Previously, she was working as the managing director of the Adi Housing and Development Corporation. She also authored a book named ‘Vanamai Nee! Mazhaiyai Naan‘.
9. Pavneet Kaur
The district collector of Amravati, Maharashtra, Pavneet Kaur left her job as a computer engineer and went on to become an IAS officer to serve society.
She worked in many posts and was posted as the Zila Parishad, Aurangabad, Maharashtra in 2018.
Belonging to the 2014 batch of IAS officers, Pavneet was driven to the social sector. She worked in an NGO and later went onto work in the Mazdoor Kisan Sangathan in Rajasthan.
Pavneet has worked on many revolutionary projects. One of them is The Design for Project works. The project helped children in Zila Parishads develop problem-solving skills.
She worked with her friend from Young India Fellowship, Natasha on this.
10. Ananya Das
IAS Ananya Das cracked the civil services examination on the first attempt.
She left the software job at Oracle and became an executive intern in RBI for 3 months.
She has published a paper on financial contagion and regulatory responses. She wanted to join the civil services voice to work for the welfare of people, girls, and poor children.
Currently, she works as the commissioner at Cuttack Municipal Corporation.
You can follow her on Twitter @AnanyaDasIAS
11. Pamela Satpathy
Pamela Satpathy hails from the state of Orissa.
She landed 51st in the UPSC examinations in 2014 and chose the path of civil services to help the poor and underprivileged.
Her aim was to contribute to the development of society. Yet, her story is a tale of resilience and perseverance.
She was able to crack the examinations in her fourth attempt. She missed the chance of clearing the exam by a few marks in her previous attempts. But, she kept going, and now, here she is!
You can follow Pamela on Twitter @PamelaSatpathy
We have such women making up the way for everyone else. When women take lead, it is so many more women who have an inspiration to look up to. The civil services are not an easy body of work to do. It takes effort and constant courage to keep going on and do what they do. As female IAS officers in India, these women have an added problem of stereotypes to tackle. But, there is no stopping these powerhouses.
But, like true leaders, they keep going and make history every day.
Whose story did you most resonate with? Tell us below!
P.S. don’t miss: The Wrong of Today’s Feminism