One of the highest civilian honours of the country, Padma Awards were announced on the occasion of Republic Day. For those who don't know, the awards are given in 2 categories - Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Shri. 

Padma Vibhushan is the second-highest civilian award of the Republic of India after the Bharat Ratna given for exceptional and distinguished service. Padma Bhushan is the third-highest civilian award given for distinguished service of a high order. Padma Shri is the fourth highest civilian award which is given to citizens of India for their distinguished contribution to different spheres like arts, education, literature, sports, science, medicine, social service, industry, and public affairs.

The President has approved the conferment of 119 Padma awards which includes 7 Padma Vibhushan, 10 Padma Bhushan, and 102 Padma Shri awards. 

The list includes 29 women Padma awardees. Read on to know more about them.

Padma Bhushan 

Ms. Krishnan Nair Shantakumari Chithra - Art - Kerala

Also known as the Nightingale of South India, KS Chithra has sung over 25,000 songs in Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali, Tulu among others through her journey in the music industry. She has won 6 national awards so far which is the highest number by any female singer in India. 

Ms. Sumitra Mahajan - Public Affairs - Madhya Pradesh

Former Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has been conferred the Padma Bhushan. She represented the Indore constituency of Madhya Pradesh from 1989 to 2019 and became the longest-serving woman Member of Parliament. 

Padma Shri

Ms. P. Anitha - Sports - Tamil Nadu

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The former captain of India's women's national basketball team. She has a record of winning 30 medals in different national championships.  

Ms. Lakhimi Baruah - Social Work - Assam

The social worker started Konoklota Mahila Urban Cooperative Bank in 1998 which helped women from underprivileged backgrounds to become financially independent. 

Ms. Rajni Bector - Trade and Industry - Punjab

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Her company Mrs. Bector's Food Specialities has made history by getting oversubscribed 198 times. She started off with in-house baking and ice cream shop after doing a baking course. When her husband bought her a professional ice-cream churner in the mid-80s, she grew a brand Cremica and used cream as a key ingredient in her delicacies. The brand further grew to make a turnover of Rs. 5 Crores. 

Ms. Sangkhumi Bualchhuak - Social Work - Mizoram

She has been working for the Mizo society for a long time and fought for a lot of their policies through the years. 

Ms. Bijoya Chakravarty - Public Affairs - Assam

She is an Indian politician from the Bhartiya Janata Party. 

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Ms. Bhuri Bai - Art - Madhya Pradesh

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A tribal woman of village Pitola in Jhabua of Madhya Pradesh took her traditional village painting to an international stage. Her works can be found in popular art museums and galleries of Germany, France, UK, Sweden, and the US.

Ms. Mouma Das - Sports - West Bengal

Indian table tennis player, Mouma Das has represented the country in different international events. She won multiple medals at the Commonwealth Games as well. She was awarded the Arjuna Award in 2013 for her contribution to sports. 

Ms. Chutni Devi - Social Work - Jharkhand

A resident of Birbasha village in Saraikela-Kharsawan district of Jharkhand, Chutni Devi was called a witch by her society but she stood up. She also helped 55 others who suffered from similar experiences. 

Ms. Dulari Devi - Art - Bihar

The 54-year-old's art skills are discussed in popular magazines of the art world. She is a famous artist of Mithila painting. 

Ms. Radhe Devi - Art - Manipur

She is a traditional bridal wear designer or a Potloi Setpi. 

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Ms. Shanti Devi - Social Work - Odisha

She leads a voluntary body called Seva Samah which aims to rehabilitate the orphans and poor children. She provides them with education and vocational training. 

Ms. Anshu Jamsenpa - Sports - Arunachal Pradesh

She is an Indian mountaineer and the first woman in the world to scale the summit of Mount Everest twice in 5 days.

Ms. Purnamasi Jani - Art - Odisha

With no formal music education, Purnamasi Jani has composed over 50,000 devotional songs in Kui, Odia, and Sanskrit. 

Ms. Prakash Kaur - Social Work - Punjab

The social worker from Jalandhar has raised about 80 abandoned girls in Punjab. She herself was abandoned by her biological parents. 

Ms. Sanjida Khatun - Art - Bangladesh

She is a Bangladeshi musicologist who was also one of the founders of Bangladesh Mukti Sangrami Shilpi Sangstha in the year 1971. 

Ms. Niru Kumar - Social Work - Delhi

Social worker Niru Kumar from Delhi has been dedicatedly working for a long period of time now.

Ms. Lajwanti - Art - Punjab

A resident of Tripuri in Patiala, Lajwanti Devi is known to have kept the tradition of Phulkari alive. 

Ms. Pappammal - Agriculture - Tamil Nadu

105 years old, Ms. Pappammal from Coimbatore runs her own Organic Farm. 

Ms. Jaswantiben Jamnadas Popat - Trade and Industry - Maharashtra

She is the only survivor of the semi-literate group of Gujarati housewives who founded Lijjat Papad 50 years ago. 

Ms. Birubala Rabha - Social Work - Assam

The social worker has been fighting against witch-hunting since the 1980s. 

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Ms. Bombay Jayashri Ramnath - Art - Tamil Nadu

She is an Indian musician who has sung in multiple languages including Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, and Hindi. She is the fourth generation of music practitioners in her family.

Guru Maa Kamali Soren - Social Work - West Bengal

She is lovingly called 'guru ma'. Kamli Soren belonged to a poor family but she decided to work hard for the people.

Ms. Sindhutai Sapkal - Social Work - Maharashtra

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She is also called 'Mai' by the locals. She runs an orphanage called  ‘Sanmati Bal Niketan Sanstha.’ She has adopted over 1000 orphaned children to date.

Ms. Sudha Hari Narayan Singh - Sports - Uttar Pradesh

She is a former long-distance runner. 

Ms. Mridula Sinha - Literature and Education - Bihar

She is an Indian writer and politician. She served as the first woman governor of Goa from August 2014 to October 2019.

Ms. Nidumolu Sumathi - Art - Andhra Pradesh

She is a well-known mridangam player who has also worked with AIR. 

Ms. Usha Yadav - Literature and Education - Uttar Pradesh

She has authored more than 100 books through her journey. She has received more than 10 major accolades for her work. Some of her popular book names are ‘सपनों के इंद्रधनुष’, ‘प्रकाश की ओर’ among others. 

All these women are indeed such an inspiration! No? For more such stories, stay tuned!