What does it take to be women leaders in business? A CEO of a company once said that one of the uncomfortable realities of being a female leader is walking into a business meeting and realising that you are one of the few women or, if not, the only woman in the room among your male counterparts. For most of us, be it men or women, the pressure of being the only one can be overwhelming. Most of the time, the majority group members subject minorities to a higher percentage of bias and discrimination, whether intentional or not. That is one significant reason for women leaders being the minority in our business world.
In the past few decades, however, women have come par with men in the number of employees in the workforce and middle management positions. However, when it comes to boardroom presence, the numbers are not promising – women hold a meagre 7.4 per cent of Fortune 500 CEO roles. The Fortune India 500 list of 2020 shows that just 29 companies have women leaders with executive powers. It is a well-known fact that the number of women in the corporate sector diminishes at the mid and upper-management levels.
As we celebrate another International Women’s Day in 2021, we asked India’s females business leaders about their struggles to achieve the top-positions. The result was some inspiring stories. In this issue, we have listed the ’10 Most Inspiring Indian Women Leaders in Business’ who have fought the stereotypes and made an impression by their business intelligence and social and cultural influence. We hope our stories would inspire a new generation of women to take leadership roles and break the norms.