Keeping with its tradition, Forbes dropped its list of World’s 100 Most Powerful Women, celebrating ‘the icons, innovators and instigators who are using their voice to change power structures and create a lasting impact.’
Among Indians, HCL CEO Roshni Nadar Malhotra (#51), Biocon founder Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (#60), HT Media’s Shobhana Bhartia (#88), and Quantico star Priyanka Chopra (#94) feature on the list.
Impressive, we know.
You know what would be even more awesome? If Forbes had included a few more names from a country of 1.2 billion, half of whom are women.
So we wanted to bring to light the work of these Indian women who are also ‘powerful’ in their own right.
Check it out:
Power and Mary Kom go hand in hand, literally.
Six-time world champion title holder in women’s boxing (48kg category) and Olympic Bronze winner, 35-year-old Mary Kom from Manipur is a force to be reckoned with in the world of sports and beyond.
She not only retained her top position in her sport but got an entire country to take the sport seriously by sheer grit of will, and consistency.
A mother of two, Mary is as ambitious as ever and has her eyes set on the 7th gold medal.
The actress’s name will forever be synonymous with the #MeToo movement in India that catapulted the nation to take cognisance of the rampant sexual harassment that goes on in the workplaces – starting with the media and entertainment industry and spreading to the rest.
Tanushree had called out her harasser out in 2008. And she continued to do so in 2018, in spite of attempts – emotional, social and physical – made to shut her up.
Her fight inspired thousands of other women to take to social media and tweet out the ordeals they faced, often shaming their harassers in public, leading to culpable action taken against them. Many big wigs thus named had to step down from their positions.
If you are an ISRO fan and have been going ‘WOW’ at its recent world class achievements that have outshone several international space research bodies, let us tell you something that will fill you with more pride.
ISRO’s first manned mission to space will be lead by 56-year-old VR Lalithambika.
Lalithambika is a skilled aeronautical scientist. At 56 years of age, she has worked on the Indian rockets Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and indigenous space shuttle.
Lalithambika is a classic example of ‘where there is a will there's a way’.
As a technology student, Lalithambika had to give up on entering IIT in spite of scoring excellently for the entrances, because she had to get married then. It didn’t stop her from pursuing space, satellites and science and look where she is now.
Chetna Gala Sinha
Chetana Gala Sinha is the living example of how entrepreneurship can help empower women even in the most remote places in rural india.
She is the founder and chairperson of the microbank Mann Deshi Mahila Sahkari Bank, and by spirit she is a social activist providing livelihood and empowerment to thousands of rural women in India.
Chetna was also the only Indian to chair the 48th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, in January this year.
Alice G Vaidyan
If you are familiar with the finance world there is no way you haven't heard of the name Alice G Vaidyan, often hailed as the ‘Insurance Trailblazer’ by media.
She is the chairperson of General Insurance Company of India and was involved as a board member in seven different companies across 8 industries.
In her career spanning over 3 decades, people have seldom heard her say the word ‘No’. Her can do attitude was a true inspiration to several women who embarked on successful careers in finance, which was considered a ‘men’s field’ in India until recently.
Vaidyan is of the opinion that equal rights for women will ensure that women are able to take more risks, as she shares in this interview to Forbes magazine.
Just like she did, and look at how she nailed it!
The resident queen of Indian soap opera scene has earned herself a reputation for the love of melodrama courtesy the ‘saas -bahu’ serials her company Balaji Telefilms produces. Even her fascination with the letter K was obsessively written about by the media, but the fact remains is Ekta Kapoor has cracked India’s content code time and again and the success of Balaji Telefilms speaks for it.
Ekta isn’t shy of taking risks: She readily decided to invest with films like Udta Punjab and Veere Di Wedding that stirred controversies for their bold narratives.
She is also forward-thinking in the business of content and readily launched Alt Balaji, the digital content chapter of her production house that is giving tough competition to the likes of Netflix and Amazon Primes of the world.
A prolific women’s rights lawyer and published author, Flavia Agnes hardly needs any introduction in India’s activism scene. A survivor of domestic violence herself, Flavia taught herself law and learned about her rights to take control of her life and seek judicial separation from her then husband.
She continues to give legal consultation to victims of domestic abuse, sexual violence, etc through her co-founded organisation called MAJLIS.
Agnes is also part of the Global Feminisms Project affiliated with Institute for Research on Women & Gender (IRWG) that started with centres in China, India, Poland, and the United States, exploring opportunities with women scholars and activists.
As of 2018, the project has spread bases across seven countries in the world.
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