On International Women’s Day, we turned the spotlight on India’s women achievers who’ve leaned in, shattered glass ceilings and made their way in spheres as diverse as activism, business, politics and sport and asked you to vote for the top icon among these women. Irom Sharmila, the Iron Lady of Manipur, was the one most readers voted for as a symbol of woman power in today’s India.
The results of the poll for top woman icon have put the Iron Lady of Manipur on the top of the list with 12% of the votes. It’s proof that unshakeable resolve and dedication to a cause are valued above success in business or politics when choosing our icons. Irom Sharmila has been on a fast for 13 years, demanding that the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act of 1958 be repealed. She had seen firsthand the tyranny of the Act when she witnessed innocent bystanders being shot down by security personnel after an ambush by insurgents.
More recently, the Aam Aadmi Party sent out feelers to Sharmila, asking her to stand in the upcoming elections. She declined saying she did not believe the voice of a politician could be heard, when a citizen’s could not. Such is this woman’s unwavering commitment to her cause.
The second most popular icon who polled 11% of the votes also showed that political or business success were not key factors when choosing an icon. The position went to boxer Mary Kom, the five-time World Boxing champion.
Political power women Sonia Gandhi and Sushma Swaraj tied for third place, followed by J Jayalalithaa and the young and talented Saina Nehwal.
Click on to see the other contenders for top icon among Indian women achievers.