She was the first woman in 46 years to graduate from the National Fire Service College (NFSC) in Nagpur.#EndTheStereotype
India’s first woman firefighter Harshini Kanhekar, broke all the shackles of gender biasness to achieve her dreams. She was the first woman in 46 years to graduate from the National Fire Service College (NFSC) in Nagpur, in 2006. Her inspiration was the first female pilot of the Indian Air Force from Vidarbha.
After successfully passing her UPSC entrance which had just 30 seats, she cleared her medical exam in round two & finally faced a very daunting panel. As she stepped on to the campus she realised that there is no history of women studying there, but she remained firm in her determination. The very first sight of the historic red building was the ‘golden moment of her life.’ Being the only girl in the campus she had to obtain special permission from Home Ministry to go home after class.
Being the only woman in a college full of men was not easy. Early on she realised that she has to prove her worth against the opposite gender in every step. As this job requires a lot of physical strength to deal with heavy water hoses, suction hoses, and mock drills, Harshini used to practice by herself in the storeroom, so as to stay at par with her fellow batch mates.
In 2006, Harshini joined the Mehasana fire station in Gujarat, the second largest onshore production for Oil and National Gas Corporation, and then in 2010 she was transferred to Mumbai drilling services. She is the first woman who handles offshore drilling services, including boarding a helicopter, conducting auditing, and taking full charge of any situations.
She believes that no field of work belongs to any gender. A passionate biker, married to a fellow biker, she has rode the world’s highest motorable road, Leh Ladakh’s Khardung La pass, and Kargil.
Her life is a testament of the fact that one needs to keep chasing their dreams, and not let other’s prejudices defer the determination. She is a true inspiration to millions of young women who dare to dream and choose unconventional career path.
It’s high time we all break the chains of gender barriers and ensure housework is shared equally among all genders.