Women in Leadership 2022
Women today have excelled in every field of work and have become inspirational icons. They have come up with flying colours despite having grown amidst discrimination, gender bias, discouragement and stereotypes. Workplaces have been developing into diverse, more inclusive and equitable spaces for people of all backgrounds and there are several inspiring women leading companies with foresight and vision. Let us look at some Indian women who have broken the glass ceiling.
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Falguni Nayar leads Nykaa, India’s first unicorn to hit the stock exchange. She became India’s first self-made billionaire with a net worth touching $6.5 billion. Her company Nykaa was set up in 2012 as an e-commerce platform selling beauty and personal care products through its website and app. She was earlier an investment banker who turned entrepreneur just before she turned 50. Nykaa emerged as India’s leading beauty retailer by offering a wide choice to customers and enabling brands to penetrate the beauty market in India. Today Nykaa has a portfolio of over 1500 brands and has its own private label. She is dubbed as the “queen of India’s beauty business” and encourages women to be committed to their work and take on more responsibility.
She is the first deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF); before her elevation she was IMF’s chief economist. An American of Indian origin, Gita took over as Deputy MD at IMF in early 2022. Prior to joining the IMF, Gita had a long career as an academic. She served in the economics department of the Harvard University and earlier at the Chicago Booth School of Business. Gita is recognized as one of the world’s leading macro-economists. Gita represents the IMF a multilateral forums, maintains high level contacts with member governments and the media. Gita has authored several papers and has been published in top journals.
Kiran Majumdar Shaw
Kiran Majumdar Shaw is the chairperson of Biocon Ltd and is a voice to reckon with in India’s pharmaceutical industry. She founded Biocon Ltd in Bengaluru with just 2 employees in 1978. Currently Biocon employs more than 11,000 people and has a market cap of close to Rs.50,000 crore. Kiran spearheaded Biocon from being an industrial enzymes manufacturing company to becoming a fully-integrated bio-pharmaceutical company. Today they have a portfolio of products focusing on diabetes, oncology and auto-immune diseases. Kiran has always believed in “affordable innovation” and she looks for opportunities to develop cost-effective techniques and low-cost alternatives. Biocon has a strong research and development team and they are always at the cutting edge of innovation.
Sudha Murty is an Indian educator, author, philanthropist and the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation. She is the wife of Infosys co-founder N. R. Narayana Murthy. Sudha is well known for her contribution to literature in both Kannada and English and for her philanthropy. Sudha has the distinction of being the first woman engineer to be hired by India’s largest auto manufacturer TELCO (TATA Engineering and Locomotive Company) in Pune. Sudha has always been an advocate for women’s rights and is a pioneer in the development of education. Through the Infosys Foundation, she has helped spread awareness and worked towards education, public hygiene and poverty alleviation.
A former CEO of PepsiCo, Indra is a powerful leader in the corporate world. She is one of the only two women of Indian origin to be a global CEO. Indra has consistently ranked among the world’s 100 most powerful women. She worked in PepsiCo for 24 years and for 12 of them as CEO. Indra’s focus was “performance with a purpose”; and apart from diversifying the portfolio of Pepsi’s products, she also focused on sustainability, packaging redesign, reducing waste, conserving water and switching to renewable energy sources. Indra has always been a champion for women and serves on the board of several companies.
Leena Nair is the second woman of Indian origin to be the CEO of the global French luxury brand Chanel. Leena started her career in Unilever where she worked for 25 years; she was also its CHRO. Chanel is known for its tweed suits, quilted handbags and the No.5 perfume. At Unilever, Leena headed the diversity and inclusion agenda for the organization and was an advocate for human-centered workplaces and compassionate leadership. Leena was born in India and grew up with a lot of taboos around her as to what girls can and must do. She has broken the glass ceiling and is now an inspiration for women from all over the world.
Roshni Nadar Malhotra
Roshni is the chairperson of HCL Technologies and is the first woman to lead a listed IT company in India. She is often listed among the most powerful women and is the daughter of Shiv Nadar, who founded the parent company HCL way back in 1976. Roshni is also a trustee of the HCL Foundation and has done outstanding work in both business and philanthropy. Roshni is passionate about wildlife and conservation and has set up the Habitats Trust, which works towards protecting natural habitats and indigenous species.
Women have always been powerful agents of change and continue to be vastly under-represented in every field, including corporations. Despite that women have risen to decision-making roles and are furthering economic, social, and political progress all over the world. Women are busting the stereotypes and gender discrimination and are doing inspiring work. Women are making bold and wise decisions as leaders; and there are many such icons that we can look up to today.
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