On January 1966, Indira Gandhi made her mark as the first female Prime Minister of India. She served as Prime Minister from 1966 to 1977 and again from 1980 until her assassination in 1984. In 1999 BBC poll, Gandhi was voted “Woman of the Millennium”.
Gandhi (no relation to “the” Mahatma Gandhi) grew up under her father Jawaharlal Nehru, who was the first Prime Minister of India and a key figure in the Indian independence movement. After studying at Oxford, she returned to India and served unofficially as her father’s personal assistant, giving her significant influence. When her father passed away in 1964, Gandhi was appointed Minister of Information and Broadcasting.
Two years later, she rose to become Prime Minister with the help of the Congress Party President, K. Kamaraj. Yet, his rationale for doing so was less about her competency and more about the perceived weakness of her gender. Kamaraj, along with his political colleagues, saw her as a prime candidate because they believed she could be used as a puppet.