The Oxford dictionary defines ‘independence’ as the state of being free and not controlled by another person, country, etc. But in effect, the idea of freedom or independence can differ from person to person. For a woman, being independent could be as simple as the freedom to wake up or sleep whenever she wants. But it could also mean the power to make decisions in her interest, on her own. On India’s 76th Independence Day, Health Shots reached out to a cross-section of women entrepreneurs and professionals to know their definition of an independent woman.
The responses on the characteristics of an independent woman reflect the evolution that women have undergone in a patriarchal society. They exude the pride they experience by taking charge of their own lives, and the satisfaction of leading fulfilling lives on their own terms.
1. Dhatri Bhatt, Marketing and Communications Professional
Independence for me is the freedom to have choices and keep changing tracks and evolving without restrictions.
2. Parul Sharma Trikha, Entrepreneur
Independent women are women who are true to themselves, who can speak and do what they want rather than what society wants them to be and do.
3. Shreshtha Kakwani, PR expert
Women don’t need adjectives like independent. They can do anything on their own. From raising kids to empowering the world’s economy – there is no limit to what we can accomplish! As a matter of fact, the world is dependent on us in many ways.
4. Prajakta Belekar, PR executive
An independent woman means being happy without relying on others. Also, independence doesn’t come from earning money only. It comes from changing your perspective about things, including those you are not comfortable with.
5. Nivedita, Writer
Being an independent woman for me as of now is seeking freedom from relentless sleeplessness as a new mom. Yearning for moments of rest, strength to embrace each day’s challenges, and the joy of watching my little one grow. Hoping for a time when exhaustion loosens its grip, and I find solace in the embrace of peaceful slumber.
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6. Gina Ghosh, Communication Professional
Being an independent woman means having a strong sense of individuality, being able to set boundaries, and maintaining a balanced life where you can thrive personally, professionally, and emotionally. It’s about embracing your identity and not conforming to societal expectations or stereotypes.
7. Snigdha Sidhra, PR executive
Independence is a state of mind, but I felt the most independent the day I started driving. The kind of empowered I felt because of this, I kept on asking all my female friends and cousins to do the same.
8. Aanya Wig, Gender Rights Advocate
To be able to wear what I want, be with who I want, follow a career path I like and say what I want.
9. Bhawna Kapoor Bajpai, Publicist
For me, being an independent woman is having the ability to make your own decisions without relying on others. It means to support yourself financially and emotionally, with self-reliance and confidence. It is also about following your goals and aspirations. Being an independent woman is a personal journey and it can unfold differently for each person. It’s about embracing your uniqueness, making choices that align with your values, and constantly evolving as you move through life’s experiences.
10. Arushi Bidhuri, Journalist
To me, being a strong, independent woman is being able to achieve happiness on my own without needing approval or support from other people. Right from being financially independent to bodily autonomy, I feel empowered to have the choices that make me who I am today.
11. Tanya Mehra, Child Nutritionist and Mom Influencer
Independent women are mostly misconceptualised as lonely women or those who are not able to have a work-life balance. But I beg to differ. For me, an independent women is the one who can be in a relationship, still pursue her passion and interests and have the guts to have a balanced approach towards life.
12. Shivani Kumar, Image Manager
Independence to me is to go out whenever I want without having to explain myself to family or other people. Because anytime you make a decision for yourself, other people immediately start giving you gyaan, mansplaining, etc. So yeah that’s probably.
13. Nidhi Govil, Businesswoman
An independent woman is someone who maintains her integrity in the face of several responsibilities and personalities. She develops her own emotional fortitude and is aware of what she wants for herself. Beyond work, it’s important to have your own, unbiased opinions. You can be independent even if you’re a homemaker. You are independent-thinking, able to decide clearly, and fearless while facing difficulties. Money is only one aspect of independence. Mental and emotional strength are also important. A strong woman not only supports herself but also others, especially other women.
14. Dr Monica Kapoor, Cosmetologist
An independent woman is strong, resilient and self-assured woman. She is not only known for her independence but also for choosing to embrace her individuality and for confidently building her own path.
15. Kritika Sethi Gupta, PR agency co-founder
For me, independence is a mindset. An independent woman for me is someone who can walk the talk and own everything she envisions. Independence does not necessarily mean being strong. To me, it means being fearlessly vulnerable while acing all walks of life.
15. Nehal Gupta, Director at a financing firm
Being an independent woman means having the freedom to choose your own path, breaking free from societal expectations, and pursuing a purpose that brings you joy and fulfillment.
An independent woman embodies the right to choose her own path, a life tailored to her desires. This freedom manifests in various ways — financial, emotional, and familial autonomy. It liberates her from dependence, granting her the power to make essential decisions. Basic financial knowledge and resources empower her, and she wakes up each day with a purpose that brings happiness and fulfillment.
16. Richa Mehta, Actor and Model
Being an independent woman means that I have the power to make my own decisions and take charge of my own life. I am my own superhero, capable of overcoming any challenges that come my way. Being an independent woman doesn’t mean that I don’t value relationships or support from loved ones. It simply means that I don’t let anyone hold me back or limit my potential. So, here’s to being an independent woman – making my own choices, shaping my own future and showing the world just how capable I am.
17. Vidhi Chawla, Nutritionist
Being an independent woman encapsulates a state of self-reliance and empowerment. It signifies the ability to make choices and decisions autonomously, steering one’s life course with confidence. Financially, emotionally, and socially self-sufficient, an independent woman doesn’t depend on others for validation or support. She manages her responsibilities, striving for personal growth while contributing to her community.
18. Archana Singhal, Counsellor and Family Therapist
An independent woman embodies a spirit of self-assuredness, resilience, and self-reliance. She is not defined by societal expectations or constrained by norms… Importantly, her independence doesn’t isolate her, but rather enhances her ability to cultivate meaningful relationships while staying true to her identity. Through her actions, she becomes an inspiration, breaking barriers and paving the way for a more inclusive world where every woman is empowered to define her own narrative and contribute to the greater good.
19. Sonali Sarkar, Child Nutritionist
Embracing self-sufficiency in every aspect of life is what it means to be an independent woman. I feel empowered by my capacity to stand strong on my own as a mother, content creator and qualified child nutritionist. Independence is as much about developing mental toughness as about financial health. At the age of 33, I’ve discovered that genuine independence means being pleased with oneself, one’s profession, and one’s path without depending on other people to define pleasure.
20. Riya Sinha, PR executive
To be independent means to be able to make my own choices but it is not only limited to that. I should be able to take care of myself even if I am left alone in this world. Being an independent woman starts with being financially, emotionally, and physically independent. But again, it would be an utopian world if I am able to live on my own and don’t need someone else. So, at the end of the day, being independent is being able to hold your ground even if the whole world is against you.
21. Juhi Dhamija, Communication professional
Being an independent woman means understanding when to let your heart guide your mind and vice versa. Life isn’t perfect every day, so it’s about embracing what feels right in the moment, believing in it, speaking up for it, and standing your ground. To me, being independent also involves not relying solely on my father, brother, or future partner. I aim to share responsibilities, handle challenges like they do, and give all my loved ones the comfort they deserve.
22. Manmeet Brar, Student
There is no one meaning of being an independent woman. One day it is about choosing what I want to wear without being judged, and on another day, it could be about taking a cab ride alone fearlessly. In the larger scheme of things, I would say a sense of independence also comes with the understanding that the world functions on interdependency.
23. Nandita Sharma, Teacher
Being an independent woman is a right, but also a responsibility. It doesn’t give anyone the ticket to treat people in an unjust way. Equality and equity, care and compassion should be at the heart of what anyone does, irrespective of gender. That is true freedom.