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Women in Science: Doctors who changed the face of Indian Medicine

Women bring unique perspectives to research and scientific conversation...

Women bring unique perspectives to research and scientific conversation. Gender diversity can have a number of advantages in research in both the academic and private sectors. This Women’s Day let’s pay homage to all the women in science who played significant roles and contributed to the welfare of society.

Recently, women like Gagandeep Kang, a virologist known for her interdisciplinary research in enteric infections and Chandrima Shaha, a biologist who has conducted extensive research on the ‘Leishmania’ parasite causing Kala Azar and many others have taken on leading roles in organizations like Indian National Science Academy (INSA), initiating new projects with far-reaching results.

We list here a few of the women doctors who deserve to be appreciated, as they have left indelible imprints on the country’s healthcare system and have paved the way for many others.

Dr. Kadambini Ganguly

Kadambini Bose Ganguly was the first Indian woman to practice modern medicine in India. Kadambini graduated from Bengal Medical College in 1886, and in 1892, she went to the United Kingdom as she was the First Asian Woman approved to be trained in Europe. Subsequently, she did her LRCP (Edinburgh), LRCS (Glasgow), and GPS (Dublin) and established a successful medical practice in India. She was also the first female speaker in the Indian National Congress.

 Dr. S. I. Padmavati

Sivaramakrishna Iyer Padmavati was an Indian cardiologist. She was the director of the National Heart Institute, Delhi, and the founder president of the All India Heart Foundation. In 1992, Padmavati was awarded India’s second highest civilian honor, the Padma Vibhushan. Dr. Padmavati, who was also an elected fellow of the National Academy of Medical Sciences, was the first woman cardiologist in India and established the first cardiac clinic and cardiac catheter lab in India; under her guidance, Indian cardiology expanded exponentially. Her profound knowledge helped spread awareness about diseases of the heart.

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan

Soumya Swaminathan is a paediatrician and clinical scientist known globally for her research on tuberculosis and HIV. From 2019 to 2022, she was the Chief Scientist at the World Health Organization and the Deputy Director General of Programmes (DDP) from October 2017 to March 2019. She is focused on bringing science and evidence-based practice into health policy-making. Dr. Swaminathan has accumulated a wealth of accolades, including over 350 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters. She is currently the Chairperson of M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF).

These women are celebrated as icons both in India and abroad. These are but a very few women who make the nation proud with their ideas, roles, and hard work, resulting in unparalleled contributions to the healthcare system. Appreciation to all the women in medical practice who, by their dedication, personal care, and efforts, have helped save lives and represented the nation greatly.


  1. Meet the Hero: Kadambini Ganguly. Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes.
  2. History Today in Medicine – Dr. S. I. Padmavati. CME INDIA.
  3. Dr Soumya Swaminathan. M S Swaminathan Research Foundation.

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Women in Science: Doctors who changed the face of Indian Medicine