Gone are the days when women were considered no match for all powerful men in this world.
The male-dominated world was always reluctant to even acknowledge the fact that women were as good as men on parameters of hard work, intelligence quotient (IQ) and leadership traits.
The new generation women across the world have overcome all negative notions and have proved themselves beyond doubt in all spheres of life including the most intricate and cumbersome world of entrepreneurship.
Yes, there is a section among women who believe in short-cuts but at the same time, there is no dearth of women who are confident, believe in themselves and have the enormous fire in their bellies to take on the best in the business and beat them at their own game.
India too has its own pool of such bold and fearless women who have made a mark for themselves both within the country as well as overseas.
Their relentless zeal, incessant quench for success and willingness to walk the extra mile have broken all myths about their inborn limitations that were supposed to be major roadblocks on their success expressways.
Let’s meet 15 such Indian women who can be easily termed as role models for every Indian:
1. Indra Nooyi
Current position: CFO, Pepsico
Indra Nooyi,56, is the current chairman and CFO of the second largest food and beverage business, PepsiCo.
Born in Chennai, Indra did her Bachelor’s in Science from Madras Christian College in 1974 and a Post Graduate Diploma in Management (MBA) from Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta in 1976.
Beginning her career in India, Nooyi held product manager positions at Johnson & Johnson and textile firm Mettur Beardsell. Nooyi joined PepsiCo in 1994 and was named president and CFO in 2001.
She has been conferred with prestigious Padma Bhushan for her business achievements and being an inspiration to India’s corporate leadership.
2. Naina Lal Kidwai
Current position: Group General Manager & Country Head – HSBC, India
Naina Lal Kidwai, 55, is presently the Group General Manager and Country Head of HSBC India.
Naina has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Delhi university and an MBA from Harvard Business school. In fact, Kidwai was the first Indian woman to graduate from Harvard Business School.
She started her career with ANZ Grindlays . Presently, she is also serving as a non-executive director on the board of Nestle SA. Kidwai is also global advisor at Harvard Business school.
Indian government conferred Padma Shri award on Naina for her contributions in the field of Trade and Industry.
3. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw
Current position: CMD, Biocon
Kiran, 59, is the founder Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Biocon Limited.
Born in Bangalore, Shaw completed her Bachelors in Zoology from Mount Carmel College, Bangalore University. She later did her post-graduation in Malting and Brewing from Ballarat College, Melbourne University.
She worked as a trainee brewer in Carlton and United Breweries, Melbourne and as a trainee maltster at Barrett Brothers and Burston, Australia.
She started Biocon in 1978 and spearheaded its evolution from an industrial enzymes manufacturing company to a fully integrated bio-pharmaceutical company.
Today Biocon under Shaw’s leadership has established itself as a leading player in biomedicine research with a focus on diabetes and oncology.
Kiran is also a member of the board of governors of the prestigious Indian School of Business and Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad.
Kiran received the prestigious Padma Shri (1989) and the Padma Bhushan (2005) from the government of India.
4. Chanda Kochar
Current position: MD & CEO – ICICI Bank
Chanda Kochar, 51, is currently the MD & CEO of india’s largest private bank ICICI Bank.
Rajasthan born chanda got Masters Degree in Management Studies from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai. She received the Wockhardt Gold Medal for Excellence in Management Studies as well as the J. N. Bose Gold Medal in Cost Accountancy.
Chanda Kochhar is married to Deepak Kochhar, a wind energy entrepreneur and her Business schoolmate.
5. Indu Jain
Designation: Chairperson (former), Times Group
Indu Jain, 76, used to be the chairperson of India’s largest and most powerful media house – The Times Group.
A strong votary of women’s rights and women entrepreneurship, Indu contributed immensely to the growth of Times group. Now, her two sons Samir and Vineet are running the company.
Indu Jain is also founder President of the Ladies wing of FICCI (FLO).
Indu is also the Chairperson of the Bharatiya Jnanpith Trust, which awards India’s most prestigious and highest literary award, the Jnanpith award.
She addressed the United Nations in 2000 at the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders, a speech in which she stressed the need for oneness among faiths and went on to chair a special session of the conference.
6. Simone Tata
Current position: Chairperson (Former), Lakme Chairperson (Present), Trent Limited
French by birth and educated in Switzerland, Simone is wife of Naval Homey Jahangir Tata and step mother to Ratan Tata. She is better known as ‘Cosmetic Czarina of India’.
She has the distinction of changing a small subsidiary of Tata Oil Mills into the largest cosmetic brand in India – Lakme , that became synonymous with indigenous Indian cosmetics.
In 1996 Tata sold off Lakmé to Hindustan Lever Limited (HLL), and created Trent from the money it made through the sale. Presently, Simone is the chairperson of Trent Limited.
7. Neelam Dhawan
Current position: MD, HP-India
A woman with ‘never-say-die’ spirit, Neelam Dhawan is presently the Managing Director of Hewlett-Packard (HP), India.
Neelam is an iconic figure in Indian IT industry . She is an inspiration for women working in IT sector. She dared to enter the IT world in early 1980s when there were just a handful of women in this industry.
At the start of her career she yearned to be a part of major players in the FMCG space such as Asian Paints and Hindustan Lever.
Unfortunately, these organizations did not want a woman to be a part of their marketing and sales efforts and hence she was rejected at the time.
But a determined Neelam refused to give up and fought back with laurels galore.
Before joining HP, India as Managing Director (MD) , Neelam was Managing Director (MD) of Microsoft, India.
She had successful and rewarding stints with other leading players like IBM and HCL
8. Sulajja Firodia Motwani
Current position: JMD – Kinetic Motors
Motwani is the Joint Managing Director of Kinetic Motors.
Sulajja has single-handedly designed and developed marketing strategies to spearhead the company’s growth forward. Sulajja worked in a California-based Investment Company before coming to India to join her grandfather’s business.
Sulajia’s good looks has been recognized by India Today group which named her the ‘Face of the Millennium’ and she has been selected as the ‘Global Leader of Tomorrow’ by the World Economic Forum.
9. Priya Paul
Current position: Chairperson, Apeejay Park Hotels
Priya joined the family business at the age of 22 and worked under her father as Marketing Manager at the Park Hotel, Delhi.
After the death of Surrendra Paul, she succeeded him in 1990 as the Chairperson of the Hospitality Division of the Apeejay Surendra Group.
Her contribution to the hospitality industry has got recognition from the government of India which conferred on her Padma Sri award in 2012.
10. Mallika Srinivasan
Current position: Director, TAFE (Tractor and Farm Equipment)
Mallika has an MBA from Wharton School of Business, Pennsylvania.
She joined TAFE in 1986 and has since been responsible for accelerating turnover from 85 crores to 2900 crores within a span of two decades.
Her innovative business ideas and excellent leadership qualities have won her laurels from every quarter.
She was awarded ‘Businesswoman of the year 2006′ award by ET.
11. Ekta Kapoor
Current position: JMD & Creative Director, Balaji Telefilms
Ekta Kapoor is the daughter of legendary star of yesteryears Jeetendra and brother of Bollywood actor Tusshar Kapoor.
Ekta has created a niche for herself in TV serial and film production. She can easily be termed as the most successful female producer of entertainment world.
Ekta has produced many successful films including Kyo Kii… Main Jhuth Nahin Bolta , Kucch To Hai Love Sex aur Dhokha, Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai, Shor in the City, Ragini MMS, Kyaa Super Kool Hai Hum and The Dirty Picture.
12. Ritu Kumar
Current position: Fashion Designer
Ritu Kumar is one of the big names in Indian fashion industry.
Ritu has carved a niche for herself in designing a variety of wardrobes including swimwear, eveningwear, traditional Indian wear, casual wear and formal evening gowns.
She has the distinction of designing costumes of three winning Miss Indias.
Her son Ashvin Kumar is a director, who has made films like Road to Ladakh (2002) and short film Little Terrorist (2004), which was nominated for the 2004 Academy Award for Live Action Short Film, and in which she did the costume design.
13. Shahnaz Hussain
Current position: CEO, Shahnaz Herbals Inc
Shahnaz Hussain is the biggest name in herbal cosmetics industry in India. She has introduced a number of trend setting herbal products .
Currently, the Shahnaz Husain Group has over 400 franchise clinics across the world covering over 138 countries.
Her pioneering work got recognition from Govt of India when she was conferred with prestigious Padma Shri award in 2006.
14. Jyoti Naik
Current Position: President Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad
Jyoti Naik, is currently the President of Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad, an Indian women’s cooperative based in Mumbai.
The Khadi and Village Industries Commission of India has conferred the Best Village Industry award on Lijjat Papad from the period 1998-99 to 2000-01.
Jyoti Naik was conferred Businesswomen of the Year (2001-02) for corporate excellence by the Economic Times.
15. Ravina Raj Kohli
Current position: Founder & Executive Director, JobCorp
Ravina Raj Kohli is an international media veteran with an experience of 24 years spanning across television and radio broadcasting, advertising, filming and journalism. Ravina is also Indian television’s first woman CEO.
She was CEO of Star news until 2004. Before Star, Ravina worked at Sony Entertainment Television as Head of Content and Communication and with the Kerry Packer owned Channel 9 on the Doordarshan platform as CEO.
She has earned a Diploma from the London School of Journalism, as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, Economics and Literature from Bangalore University.