Breaking gender barrier in corporate world - The New Indian Express

Breaking gender barrier in corporate world

Published: 09th October 2013 06:00 AM

Last Updated: 09th October 2013 01:16 AM

The State Bank of India’s Arundhati Bhattacharya has joined the elite club of women who are heads of public and private sector banks. Among them in the first category are Shubhalakshmi Panse of Allahabad Bank, Vijayalakshmi R Iyer of Bank of India and Archana Bhargava of the United Bank of India. In the private sector, ICICI bank is headed by Chanda Kochhar and Axis Bank by Shikha Sharma. Among foreign banks in India, HSBC has Naina Lal Kidwai at its head, Kalpana Morparia leads JP Morgan and Meera Sanyal Royal Bank of Scotland.

Considering that Mao Zedong said that women hold up half the sky, it is not surprising that the supposedly gentler sex is playing such a leading role in the banking sector. Moreover, their rise and rise are not unrelated to the growing prominence of women in public affairs, as exemplified by the fact that India has had a woman prime minister and any number of chief ministers, not to mention central and state ministers. However, what distinguishes the latest list of high achievers is that women have now made a successful entry into the corporate field, which has generally been dominated by men, especially those from powerful business families.

While women business tycoons like Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsico, and Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, chairman and MD of Biocon Ltd, are also entering the field, it is banking which seems to have particularly suited the specific talents of women. A growing body of research shows that women excel in precisely the traits which are necessary to address 21st century problems — collaboration, empathy and team-building, combined with more vigorous approaches such taking initiatives and pushing for results. Even then, women in India and elsewhere still continue to face social and educational obstacles as a result of ingrained male prejudices. The success stories of those who have broken through the barriers should inspire others still struggling to express themselves.

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