Changing functional roles of the working women in India

women ceo

What’s common between Jyoti Naik and Preetha Reddy? While the former is President – Lijjat Papad, the latter is Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals. The common factor that binds them together is that they are representatives in the list of successful businesswomen in Corporate India. The list is endless with the obvious names such as Chanda Kocchar, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and Naina Lal Kidwai.

And it is not only that Corporate India is reckoning this emerging breed of swashbuckling women CEOs, Chairmans and Managers. Walk in to any office in India and there is a least possibility that one might not find a woman heading a senior position or leading a team.

There is an increasing number of successful women entrepreneurs in the enterprise sector as well. For instance, Shahnaz Hussain who revolutionised the Indian beauty and cosmetic industry. Also, worth-mentioning, is Sharan Apparao who owns a couple of successful art galleries and auction house.

“A woman is totally versatile – in every thing – and can take over any functional role,” shares Anita Mulchandani who is a luxury fashion consultant and is also involved in her family business of guesthouses and hotels. “The softer side of women makes them good HR managers – as it is a people’s job, besides being good strategists, finance managers and communication heads.”

Liza Varma, a renowned fashion choreographer believes that all functional roles that have been traditionally man’s domain has been taken over by women. “I think that the best part about women is that apart from being successful workers in office/business, they efficiently juggle their other domestic roles as well and can still excel better than men.”

Liza feels that except for extensive physical labour, women can lead in any role in today’s world. Shikha Narang, a final year student of Product Design at University of Pune differs in this regard. “Look at Kiran Bedi or Kalpana Chawla. Their professions demanded them to go through continuous and rigorous physical training. In fact, every role of woman is challenging and any woman who’s in the Defence Force is a huge inspiration to me.”

Talk about challenging and diverse roles, there are examples galore. Maruti and Shell, along with Azad Foundation, a Delhi-based NGO, are initially training 9 women to start a fleet of taxis with women taxi drivers. India has already seen its first auto-rickshaw driver in the form of Sunita Choudhury in Delhi, who reportedly now aspires to be a politician. While the Indian Air Force is mulling over on having women fighter pilots in the future, it is at least certain that India’s future is safe in the hands of these women drivers.

Tina Narang, who runs a high-end apparel business with her friend says, “I had a comfortable option of joining my family’s textile business, but, I decided to venture out on my own and become self-reliant. A woman has to come out of the closet and take on newer functional roles that the world has to offer.”


- Suniet Bezbaroowa (views expressed in the article are that of the author)




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