Nirmala Sitharaman is India’s first female defence minister with full charge. Her appointment as part of the cabinet reshuffle augurs well for women in politics putting them right at the forefront. Having two central and crucial ministries led by women is a symbol of where the government sees work getting done. As PM Narendra Modi puts women ministers in the forefront, here are six reasons why this is a big milestone for Indian women in politics.

  1. Nirmala Sitharaman becomes first independent woman Defence Minister
  2. Strong message from the Modi government about giving women the charge to lead
  3. For India, it’s a great presence on the global stage that two women hold the most powerful ministries in our country
  4. Within the party, there is clearly recognition of work being done by the leaders. The party has been quick to reward and promote.
  5. India has two women in the cabinet committee on security, it’s a great signal for the country’s priorities, focus on strategic needs
  6. Women are leading key ministries in the current government and breaking the stereotype that women cannot lead in politics. Smriti Irani as I&B Minister, Maneka Gandhi as Women and Child Development Minister, Sushma Swaraj as Minister of External Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman as Defence Minister, Harsimran Kaur Badal, Uma Bharti as Minister for water & sanitation.
  7. In 2014, the Modi government included 7 female ministers in key positions, including the cabinet sending a signal that female talent was going to be a critical piece of the government’s effort. Najma Heptulla had also served as Minister of Minority Affairs, but was dropped in its two-year term shuffle in July 2016.
  8. With the latest reshuffle the government has 6 female ministers in the cabinet.