By Cake Staff:
Three top bankers from India, SBI chief Arundhati Bhattacharya, ICICI head Chanda Kochhar, and Axis Bank CEO Shikha Sharma, have made it to Fortune Magazine’s ‘50 Most Powerful Women (International)’ List. The list, which honours the achievements of women in the corporate sector (and business), has Bhattacharya ranked second, while Kocchar and Sharma come in the fifth and nineteenth spots respectively.
All three women have performed exceptionally in their fields—while Bhattacharya had been in the running to replace Raghuram Rajan as the RBI Governor, Kochhar’s 7 year stint at ICICI has often been regarded as ‘visionary’ by her banking contemporaries. It’s great to see these women make it to a list which boasts of corporate achievers such as the CEO of Singapore Telecommunications (Chua Sock Koong), the CEO of Coca Cola Group (Alison Watkins), the President of MasterCard (Ann Cairns), and so on.
In a country where women have to face a lot of discrimination and internalized misogyny in the workplace (and especially in the corporate sector, which is often male-dominated), having Indian women get international recognition for their achievements in these sectors is huge. While the prevalence of sexual harassment in white collar workplaces is still a harsh reality, women in these workplaces also face many other hurdles like not being taken seriously (or being dismissed as ‘bossy’ or ‘opinionated’), or being continuously silenced. Moreover, so many women aren’t even encouraged to enter the corporate sector in the first place because it’s considered a “male” sphere. The recognition received by these women is an open challenge to all of that, and goes on to prove such patriarchal beliefs wrong. It’s an inspiration to countless Indian women who have been discouraged from entering the field, or have faced stigma within it.
It’s amazing that three Indian women have made it to the list this year, and we sincerely hope that this isn’t the last time it happens. So here’s to paving paving the way for more Indian women to succeed in business and finance, and opening up more opportunities and avenues.