Who is the first woman jockey in India?
Who is the first woman jockey in India?

Who is the First Woman Jockey in India?

India has a rich history in horse racing, with a long-standing tradition that dates back to the colonial era. Over the years, the sport has witnessed several milestones and achievements. One such significant milestone is the emergence of women jockeys in a predominantly male-dominated field. In this article, we will delve into the story of the first woman jockey in India, her journey, and the impact she has made on the sport.

The Pioneering Woman Jockey: Rupa Singh

Rupa Singh, born on March 15, 1972, in Kolkata, West Bengal, is widely recognized as the first woman jockey in India. Her passion for horse riding and her determination to break gender barriers led her to pursue a career in horse racing. Rupa Singh’s journey to becoming a jockey was not an easy one, as she faced numerous challenges and prejudices along the way.

Early Life and Introduction to Horse Racing

Rupa Singh’s fascination with horses began at a young age. Growing up in Kolkata, she was exposed to the world of horse racing through her father, who was an avid racing enthusiast. Her father’s love for the sport ignited her own passion, and she started riding horses at a local riding club.

Recognizing her talent and dedication, Rupa’s father encouraged her to pursue horse racing professionally. However, the path to becoming a jockey was not straightforward for a woman in India during that time. Rupa faced societal pressure and skepticism, but she remained undeterred.

Breaking Barriers and Making History

In 1991, Rupa Singh made her debut as a professional jockey at the Royal Calcutta Turf Club (RCTC). This marked a historic moment in Indian horse racing, as she became the first woman to compete in a professional race in the country. Her participation challenged the prevailing gender norms and paved the way for other aspiring women jockeys.

Rupa’s journey was not without obstacles. She faced criticism, discrimination, and even threats from those who believed that horse racing was a male-dominated sport. However, her determination and skill gradually earned her respect and recognition within the racing community.

The Impact of Rupa Singh’s Achievement

Rupa Singh’s groundbreaking achievement as the first woman jockey in India had a profound impact on the sport and society as a whole. Her success opened doors for other women who aspired to pursue a career in horse racing. Let’s explore the impact of her achievement:

Inspiration for Aspiring Women Jockeys

Rupa Singh’s journey inspired countless young women across India to dream big and break gender barriers. Her story served as a beacon of hope for aspiring women jockeys who faced societal pressure and skepticism. Many young girls who were passionate about horse racing found the courage to pursue their dreams, knowing that it was possible to succeed in a male-dominated field.

Changing Perceptions and Breaking Stereotypes

Rupa Singh’s success challenged the prevailing stereotypes associated with women in sports. Her achievements shattered the notion that horse racing was exclusively a man’s domain. By excelling in a sport traditionally dominated by men, she proved that gender should never be a barrier to pursuing one’s passion.

Increased Participation of Women in Horse Racing

Rupa Singh’s pioneering journey paved the way for increased participation of women in horse racing. Her success encouraged more women to take up jockey training and compete professionally. Today, there are several talented women jockeys in India who are making their mark in the sport, thanks to Rupa Singh’s trailblazing path.

The Current Landscape of Women Jockeys in India

Since Rupa Singh’s historic debut, the number of women jockeys in India has steadily increased. Women are now an integral part of the horse racing community, competing alongside their male counterparts. Let’s take a closer look at the current landscape of women jockeys in India:

Notable Women Jockeys

Several women jockeys have emerged as prominent figures in Indian horse racing. Some notable names include:

  • Shazia Mirza
  • Asha Roka
  • Shraddha Srinath
  • Shamita Das
  • Shruti Singh

Recognition and Support

Women jockeys in India are now receiving greater recognition and support from the racing community and stakeholders. Various initiatives have been undertaken to encourage and promote women’s participation in the sport. These include scholarships, training programs, and mentorship opportunities.

Challenges and Opportunities

While the progress has been significant, women jockeys in India still face certain challenges. Some of the key challenges include:

  • Gender bias and stereotypes
  • Limited opportunities for sponsorship and endorsements
  • Unequal prize money compared to male jockeys

However, despite these challenges, the future looks promising for women jockeys in India. With increased support and recognition, more women are expected to enter the field and make their mark in the sport.


Rupa Singh’s journey as the first woman jockey in India serves as an inspiration to aspiring women jockeys across the country. Her determination, skill, and trailblazing spirit broke gender barriers and paved the way for increased participation of women in horse racing. Today, women jockeys are an integral part of the Indian racing community, and their contributions continue to shape the sport’s landscape. Rupa Singh’s legacy will forever be etched in the annals of Indian horse racing history, reminding us that passion and perseverance can overcome any obstacle.


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