Lead­ing Lights

BT honours women who made a mark in busi­ness and cre­ated a so­cial im­pact

Business Today - - BT EVENT MPW -

IT HAS BEEN 15 years since Busi­ness To­day be­came the first pub­li­ca­tion to iden­tify and award In­dia’s Most Pow­er­ful Women (MPW). At a power-packed evening in Mum­bai on Septem­ber 5, we once again fe­lic­i­tated In­dia’s Most Pow­er­ful Women, in­clud­ing, for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year, women who are mak­ing an im­pact at the grass­root level.

The awards were given to 30 busi­ness lead­ers and 16 women work­ing to bring about a change in the so­ci­ety. The 30 women busi­ness lead­ers in­cluded first gen­er­a­tion en­trepreneurs, mar­ket­ing wiz­ards, bu­reau­crats, le­gal lu­mi­nar­ies, bank­ing lead­ers and deal mak­ers. The im­pact cat­e­gory had women work­ing in ar­eas of food safety, poverty al­le­vi­a­tion, women’s rights, and ed­u­ca­tion, among oth­ers.

The award cer­e­mony at ITC Grand Cen­tral in Mum­bai saw a dozen new awardees. This in­cluded Ameera Shah, Pro­moter & MD, Metropo­lis Healthcare; Na­dia Chauhan, Joint MD of Parle Agro; Shobana Kami­neni, Ex­ec­u­tive Vice-Chair­per­son, Apollo Hos­pi­tals En­ter­prise; and Lak­shmi Venu, Joint MD of Sun­daram Clay­ton. Also in the list this year were three bu­reau­crats who made a ma­jor dif­fer­ence in their sec­tors — Tele­com Sec­re­tary Aruna Sun­darara­jan, for­mer chair­per­son of Cen­tral Board of Indi­rect Taxes and Cus­toms (CBIC) Vanaja Sarna, and Radha Chouhan, CEO, Gov­ern­ment e-Mar­ket­place.

We also had women who are mak­ing a mark in the le­gal arena. Th­ese in­cluded Supreme Court Judge Indu Mal­ho­tra; Neeru Chadha, Judge, In­ter­na­tional Tri­bunal for the Law of the Sea; and Jus­tice Prathiba Singh, Per­ma­nent Judge, Delhi High Court. Not to be left be­hind were pro­fes­sional CEOs, in­clud­ing 3M In­dia’s De­barati Sen and In­di­aFirst LifeIn­surance’s R.M. Vishakha.

Two women, Stan­dard Char­tered Bank CEO Zarin Daruwala and MD Capgem­ini’s Asia-Pa­cific and Latin Amer­i­can busi­ness Aruna Jayan­thi, have now won the award for the sev­enth time and en­tered the cov­eted ‘BT Hall of Fame’.

The awards were pre­sented by Arund­hati Bhat­tacharya, for­mer chair­man of the coun­try’s largest bank, the State Bank of In­dia (SBI), In­dia To­day Group Editorial Di­rec­tor Raj Chen­gappa and Busi­ness To­day Edi­tor Pros­en­jit Datta. Ad­dress­ing the au­di­ence, Raj Chen­gappa said: “All you ladies are an in­spi­ra­tion not just to in­dus­try and econ­omy but the whole of In­dia. You con­trib­ute not only to our great na­tion’s pros­per­ity and might, but also to its hon­our, dig­nity, val­ues and to our un­fin­ished quest for equal op­por­tu­ni­ties to all our ci­ti­zens ir­re­spec­tive of gen­der, caste, creed and com­mu­nity.”

The Im­pact Women are well known names who have been work­ing at the grass­roots. Ruk­mini Ban­erji, CEO of Pratham, is ac­cred­ited with im­prov­ing learn­ing lev­els of pri­mary school­child­ren. Phool­basan Bai Ya­dav’s NGO is help­ing over two lakh women and 13,000 self-help groups in self-re­liance through mi­croini­tia­tives. Sabar­ma­tee has changed the face of ru­ral Odisha with or­ganic farm­ing. Sha­yara Bano is fight­ing a fierce bat­tle against Triple Ta­laq and has got the Supreme Court to de­clare it un­con­sti­tu­tional.

Th­ese win­ners were cho­sen by a power-packed jury that in­cluded Rashesh Shah, Chair­man, Edel­weiss Group; Shailesh Harib­hakti, Chair­man, Men­torCap Man­age­ment; Jayshree Vyas, MD, Sewa Bank; Ashok Wad­hwa, Group CEO, Am­bit Cap­i­tal; busi­ness his­to­rian Gita Pi­ra­mal; and Mad­hukar Ka­math, Chair­man Emer­i­tus, DDB Mu­dra Group. Pi­ra­mal spoke about the rise of women en­trepreneur­ship in In­dia and the im­por­tant role ed­u­ca­tion can play in em­pow­er­ing women.

The event started with busi­ness lead­ers brain­storm­ing on is­sues that so­cial en­ter­prises face while scal­ing up. Vikas Goswami, Head, Sus­tain­abil­ity, Go­drej In­dus­tries, said the key is­sues were lack of tal­ent and ex­ces­sive de­pen­dence of so­cial en­ter­prises on grants, which in­hibits their abil­ity to scale up. Praseeda Konam, CEO, Samhita Mi­cro-Fi­nance, said of­ten founders be­lieve that peo­ple who join them are mo­ti­vated not by money but solely by pas­sion. Vi­jay­alak­shmi Das, CEO, Friends of Women’s World Bank­ing, said it was dif­fi­cult for en­ter­prises that do not have a strong balance sheet, to raise funds from banks even if they have a smart idea.

The sec­ond panel de­bated the is­sue of gen­der wage gap in cor­po­rate In­dia. In­dia’s gen­der pay gap is es­ti­mated at 23 per cent by the In­ter­na­tional Labour Or­ga­ni­za­tion (ILO). The coun­try is ranked 27 out of 30 coun­tries, due to lack of op­por­tu­ni­ties, so­ci­etal at­ti­tudes, oc­cu­pa­tional seg­re­ga­tion, care bur­den, and poor ac­cess to trans­port, among oth­ers. Sonal Agrawal, Man­ag­ing Part­ner, Ac­cord Group In­dia, said gen­der pay dis­par­ity was a global phe­nom­e­non. Meenakshi Menon, Founder and Chair­per­son, Spa­tial Ac­cess, ex­plained the grav­ity of the sit­u­a­tion in the me­dia sec­tor where the wage gap is the worst at 44 per cent. The prob­lem of­ten lies with the women. Agrawal added that women of­ten don’t ne­go­ti­ate much or stay in the com­fort zone of their ex­ist­ing work­place.

The BT MPW Awards were pre­sented by Sathyabama In­sti­tute of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy, in as­so­ci­a­tion with gift part­ner Bag­git and lux­ury part­ner Longchamp.


WIN­NERS’ GAL­AXY: Busi­ness To­day Edi­tor Pros­en­jit Datta and In­dia To­day’s Group Editorial Di­rec­tor Raj Chen­gappa with Most Pow­er­ful Women award re­ceivers R.M.Vishakha, MD & CEO, In­di­aFirst Life In­sur­ance; Vanaja Sarna, for­mer Chair­man, Cen­tral Board of Indi­rect Taxes and Cus­toms; De­b­jani Ghosh, Pres­i­dent, Nasscom; Ameera Shah, Pro­moter & MD, Metropo­lis Healthcare; Aruna Jayan­thi, MD, APAC and LatAm Busi­ness Units at Capgem­ini; Arund­hati Bhat­tacharya, for­mer Chair­per­son, State Bank of In­dia; Usha Sang­wan, MD, LIC; Lak­shmi Venu, Joint MD, Sun­daram Clay­ton and Deputy MD, TAFE Mo­tors & Trac­tors; Priya Nair, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, home­care divi­sion, Hin­dus­tan Unilever; Apurva Puro­hit, Pres­i­dent, Ja­gran Group; Ashu Suyash, MD and CEO, CRISIL; Harsh­beena S. Zaveri, Vice-chair­man and Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, NRB Bear­ings; Mad­hukar Ka­math, Chair­man Emer­i­tus, DDB Mu­dra Group

IM­PACT ON SO­CI­ETY: Raj Chen­gappa with Im­pact Women win­ners Noor­je­han Safia Niaz, Founder, Bharatiya Mus­lim Mahila An­dolan; Su­mita Ghose, Founder, RangSu­tra; Latika Thukral, Founder, Iamgur­gaon; Arund­hati Bhat­tacharya, for­mer Chair­per­son, SBI; Aditi Gupta, Co-Founder, Men­stru­pe­dia; Rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Saral De­signs; Vi­jay­alak­shmi Das, CEO, Friends of Women’s World Bank­ing; Praseeda Ku­nam, Co-Founder and CEO, Samhita Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Ser­vices; Phool­basan Bai Ya­dav, Founder, Maa Bam­lesh­wari Jan­hit Karya Samiti in Ch­hat­tis­garh; Ruk­mini Ban­erji, CEO, Pratham

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