Indian Women in Banking Industry: Breaking the Glass Ceiling?


Themes: HRM \ OB
Pub Date : 2009
Countries : India
Industry : Services

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Case Code : HRM0061
Case Length : 20 Pages
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Indian Women in Banking Industry: Breaking the Glass Ceiling?

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Indian Women in Banking Industry: Breaking the Glass Ceiling?

As an Indian, one would not have missed out on these known names at all and some of these names would be familiar internationally as well. Chanda Kochhar, CEO and MD of ICICI Bank, Neelam Dhawan, MD, Hewlett-Packard, India, Shobhana Bhartia, chairperson and editorial director of HT Media, Preetha Reddy, MD, Apollo Hospitals, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, chairperson, Biocon, Naina Lal Kidwai, country head, HSBC, Indra Nooyi, CEO, PepsiCo, Radhika Roy, MD, NDTV, Chitra Ramakrishna, Deputy MD, NSE, Aruna Sundararajan, CEO, Common Services Centers Programme, IL&FS Ltd, Aishwarya Rai, Kalpana Chawla, Arundhati Roy, Sonia Gandhi, Gurinder Chadha and many more - who have carved a niche for themselves, proving their mettle in various fields. These names and several others signify, that they can deliver and no longer they be desisted proving the words said by Margaret Thatcher (First Woman Prime Minister of UK) years ago that, 'If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.'1 According to a survey by international executive research firm, EMA Partners International, around 11% of Indian companies have women CEOs, while in the case of Fortune 500 list from the US, the women CEOs just account for 3% of the total consideration set.2

Interestingly enough, year 2009 seemed to be a silver lining year for India Inc., especially the banking and financial services sector with thirteen women heading either banks or insurance companies and many others heading other companies from varied industries. This is quite an unparalleled phenomenon for any emerging economy. Especially when this fact is interspersed with the timing of the global meltdown and the way India has performed during and post US financial crisis, with these exemplary women anchoring the Indian financial market, there must be a hidden cue to their suppressed abilities. What does this mean for India Inc.? Does it mean that women

corporate power has arrived? What does this mean for the banking and financial services sector? Does it mean that women make better bankers with their innate qualities? The adulation aside, the journey to these C-suites, for many of these women executives was quite an ordeal. Gradual opening up of a conservative society to a modern society preceded breaking the glass ceiling. Of course, these women executives are still traditional Indians doing the business with a global outlook which sets them apart. However, what everyone questions is would that pie grow or would it shrink or would it just stay put?

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1]"Corporates need to hire more women",, November 22th 2006
2]"Women CEOs: India Inc beats US hands down", women_ceos_india_inc_beats_us_hands_down.php, December 13th 2009