‘No glass ceiling for women in India’

By Arun Kumar, IANS
Monday, February 7, 2011

WASHINGTON - Succesful Indian women believe there is no glass ceiling for women in India though Indian men still struggle to be supportive of their aspirations and women often need to tune their ambitions accordingly.

Some of these exceptional Indian women who have made a mark in the spheres of business and arts talked about how they had succeeded in striking the right balance between family and work at the 17th India Business Conference at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois last week.

“I take on multiple roles by choice. I’d be unhappy if one of those roles collapsed,” said Shikha Sharma, Managing Director and CEO of Axis Bank.

“If you have the passion to live in multiple universes, prove yourself and be successful, you will be successful,” agreed Aroon Shivdasani, Executive Director of Indo-American Arts Council.

Addressing the audience’s apprehensions about moving from US to India, Shikha Sharma said: “There are more and more women who are getting into senior executive positions in India. No question of hitting a glass ceiling.”

S. Mitra Kalita, senior writer at the Wall Street Journal talked about how in fact, it was easier to mingle in India. “Indian women, don’t care where you came from. There’s a certain way you can blend east and west as an Indian woman.”

Being a woman could help them be more effective leaders, she said. “Being a woman, I am more nurturing as a manager. I leverage the multi-tasking capabilities that women are naturally endowed with.”

Highlighting the increasing acceptance of the Indian society towards single women, Angela Chitkara, founder & CEO of US-India Corridor, said be if married or single, at the end it boils down to being happy with the choices you have made.

“I admire women who can balance their work and home life. In hindsight, I think I may have spent a bit too much time focused on my work. You have many choices as a woman. Think carefully about what you choose. It all comes at a price.”

The panel also had some advice for men. “Focusing on substance, prove your capabilities and you will be valued,” was their success mantra for all.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in

Filed under: Economy

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