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BT's eighth annual list tells stories of dreams come true

August 30, 2011
I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree… From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet... I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest...
Sylvia Plath,
The Bell Jar, 1963

For generations, the choice between the domestic idyll and a career has been the unique dilemma of women.

This issue of Business Today celebrates those who have tackled it head-on. There have been sacrifices: being unable to meet a dying father, delaying marriage, getting little time with children. But BT's eighth annual list of the Most Powerful Women also tells stories of dreams come true. The 56 women featured in these pages not only chose their figs, but also planted trees and saw them blossom.

The list of the 25 Most Powerful Women is followed by one of 25 to watch out for. There is also a discussion on why many women quit their careers and an article on what makes a successful businesswoman.

Ajoy Bose writes on Mayawati's politics, and Rama Bijapurkar on why there are so few women on boards. There is also an interview with Ripa Rashid, co-author of a book on the role of women in emerging markets.

The package opens with the Hall of Fame, featuring six women who have made it to the Most Powerful Women list for the past seven years. BT Associate Editor Shweta Punj spoke with them.

Their group photo has its own back story. After scores of phone calls, BT fixed a time for the shoot in Mumbai. Some rescheduled engagements, and one chartered a jet. As if juggling six schedules was not complicated enough, a bandh was suddenly declared. Fortunately, it was called off, and everything worked out. The picture, like the women themselves, is for real.

(Click on their names to know their success story)
Naina Lal Kidwai Swati Piramal
Chanda Kochhar Shikha Sharma
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw Mallika Srinivasan
(Click on their names to know their success story)
Aruna Jayanthi Zia Mody
Nandita Gurjar Roopa Kudva
Chiki Sarkar Zarina Mehta
Renu Sud Karnad Vinita Bali
Jyotsna Suri Leena Nair
Meena Ganesh Vinita Gupta
Kirthiga Reddy Shobhana Bhartia
Ekta Kapoor Preetha Reddy
Falguni Nayar Vishakha Mulye
Archana Hingorani Kalpana Morparia
Ashvini Yardi Vedika Bhandarkar
Nita Ambani Renuka Ramnath
Ashu Suyash

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