Smt. C.B. Muthamma was the first female IFS officer. She was also the first female to clear the Civil Services Examination. She joined IFS in 1949 and was the topper of her batch. She became the first female Ambassador from the Service. She was Ambassador to Hungary, Ghana and The Netherlands. After retirement, she was appointed as a member of the Disarmament Commission set up by the Swedish PM. Below is her photo:

C.B. Muthamma

India has had three female Foreign Secretaries. I do not know how many other countries have had this distinction. Smt. Chokila Iyer was the first female Foreign Secretary. Below is a photo of her first day in office as Foreign Secretary:

Smt. Chokila Iyer

Below is the photo of another female Foreign Secretary of India – Smt. Nirupama Rao. She was also the first female Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs.

Smt. Nirupama Rao

Smt. Arundhati Ghose, who passed away last year was the head of the Indian delegation at the CTBT negotiations at Geneva in 1996. She was never afraid to speak her mind and defended India when there was considerable pressure on India to join the CTBT. She later served as a member of the UPSC. Below is her photo at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva:

Smt. Arundhati Ghose

Smt. Sujata Singh, an Indian Foreign Service officer of the 1976 batch. She is a German speaker and served in various positions at the Indian embassies at Bonn, Accra, Paris, and Bangkok. She was India’s Consul general at Milan during 2000–04. She has also served as India’s High Commissioner to Australia (2007–2012).

Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh

Female IFS officers have been Ambassadors to important countries and have held important positions in the UN. Two of the three Secretaries at the Ministry of External Affairs presently are females.


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