scorecardresearch
Download the latest issue of Business Today Magazine just for Rs.49
'India has produced a number of women who were trailblazers'

'India has produced a number of women who were trailblazers'

Banking and finance has particularly thrown up a number of extremely high profile women achievers who have headed banks, run stock exchanges, or made their mark in areas such as deal making and private equity funding.

Business Today Editor Prosenjit Datta Business Today Editor Prosenjit Datta

In 2003, Business Today started a new survey - to identify the most powerful women in Indian business. The idea was to choose and celebrate women who had reached the pinnacle of corporations and banks and were directing their destinies.

Since then, this annual survey has become one of our most popular listings. Over the years, we have refined our methodology and have also started applying far more rigour to choose our final 25 winners from a list of over 150 women achievers in the corporate world. Every year, the list sees several new entrants as more women make it to the pinnacle of their organisations. A few women drop out of the list because they have either retired or moved away professionally. And in some cases, some ladies have been removed from the list because they have been elevated to our Hall of Fame after winning the award for seven years. Each year, though, the shortlist of women achievers has become longer. When we first started our survey, the shortlist would not have been more than 45-50. Now, the shortlist alone crosses 140-150 names.

Being a woman and reaching the top of any business and running it successfully is tough in most countries. More so in India. Despite the enormous strides women have made professionally in almost every field, representation of women in senior management echelons is still very low. A recent McKinsey study showed that in India, less than 4 per cent of senior management is made up of women. At the entry level, roughly 25 per cent are women but by middle management, that gets whittled down to 16 per cent or so. This ratio is worse than that for almost all other Asian countries.

Still, India has produced a number of women who were trailblazers. Banking and finance has particularly thrown up a number of extremely high profile women achievers who have headed banks, run stock exchanges, or made their mark in areas such as deal making and private equity funding. The hospitality industry is another, with a number of remarkable women heading some of the finest hotel chains very successfully.

But other fields are also getting well represented. Nishi Vasudeva heads Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited, the public sector oil refining and marketing behemoth, and she has taken it from strength to strength. Similarly, women are heading high-profile corporations in information technology (Facebook, HP), law (Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas) and management consultancy (Capgemini).

Meanwhile, many of India's most prominent business houses are also recognising the role and capability of women in their families by handing over substantial responsibilities to daughters, nieces and daughters in law. But still the presence of women in India's management committees and boards is fairly low, though more women are shattering the glass ceiling every year.

Our jury members - Rahul Bajaj, Chairman of the Bajaj Group of companies; Kalpana Morparia, CEO of JP Morgan India; Sam Balsara, Chairman & MD of Madison World; and Janmejaya Sinha, Chairman of Asia Pacific of Boston Consulting Group - spent several hours one Saturday afternoon in August to discuss and debate the achievements of the various women achievers in our shortlist before arriving at the final 25.

Deputy Editor Alokesh Bhattacharyya and Senior Assistant Editor Sarika Malhotra anchored the issue.

Published on: Sep 11, 2015, 12:41 PM IST
Posted by: Gaytri Madhura, Sep 11, 2015, 12:41 PM IST