Vijaya Lakshmi Nehru Pandit became in 1937, the first female Indian cabinet minister, and went on to have a long career in politics and international diplomacy. After India became independent in 1947 she represented the country as ambassador and as head of the Indian delegation to the United Nations, serving as the first female president of the UN General Assembly. Her niece, Indira Gandhi, would later become Prime Minister of India – strongly criticised by her aunt for the more controversial aspects of her rule – and also has a portrait at Somerville College.
The Honourable Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit by Edward Irvine Halliday (1956). Courtesy of The Principal and Fellows of Somerville College.