This list has to start with a mention of Anandibai Joshee, (she along with Kadambini Ganguly was one of the first Indian women doctors qualified to practice western medicine).
Dr. Joshee’s short life was full of hardships; her family used to be rich landlords in Kalyan, Mahasrashtra, but they lost all their riches, and she was married at age 9 to a widower 20 years her senior. She gave birth at age 14 to a son who died shortly afterwards, and she herself suffered from poor health with an undiagnosed condition that often left her exhausted with shortness of breath and constant headaches.
The death of her newborn son due to inadequate medical care is what inspired her to become a physician. She was also encouraged by her husband to study medicine abroad. Dr. Joshee, MD was in the class of 1886 at the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania (which was the first women’s medical program in the world).
On her return to India, she was appointed as the physician-in-charge of the female ward of the local Albert Edward Hospital in the princely state of Kolhapur.