As we near the International Women’s Day, we’re taking a moment to highlight the most influential and powerful women who have made a mark in the Indian banking sector.
Ideally, in a perfect gender-equal world, we shouldn’t have to celebrate women on just one particular day. On a daily basis, women don so many roles and responsibilities with such ease and finesse and are often underestimated or sidelined.
While growing up, you must have seen how your working mom was a superwoman who did everything from getting you ready for school, cooking meals and paying bills. Or perhaps you are your own hero and are a working woman yourself.
Actually, it doesn’t matter whether you are working or not, if you’re married or single, or have kids, or don’t have kids. What matters is that you are a woman and you need to be celebrated, not just on Women’s Day but every single day!
Additional Reading: Happy Women’s Day. Have A Great One, Ladies!
Today, we’re celebrating a few women who have been instrumental in the field of finance/banking in India. Through their notable work, these women have broken the glass ceiling and emerged as some of the most influential and powerful women in the Indian banking sector.
Additional Reading: 7 Successful Women Entrepreneurs In The Indian Start-Up Space
This retired and former Chairman of the State Bank of India is the first woman to be given the Chairman title. Bhattacharya was born in a Bengali family and raised in Bokaro. She joined SBI in 1977 at the age of 22 and is the first woman to lead an Indian Fortune 500 company.
During her 36-year long career with SBI, she introduced a two-year sabbatical leave policy for the bank’s female employees to use during their maternity break or while taking care of the elderly. On Women’s Day, she also announced free vaccination against cervical cancer for the bank’s female employees. In 2016, she was listed as the 25th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.
Shikha was the Managing Director and CEO of Axis Bank. She comes from an army background and since her father was an army man he and the family travelled quite a bit within the country. However, Shikha graduated from Delhi and then got an MBA from IIM- Ahmedabad.
Shikha started her three-decade long career with ICICI Bank in the 1980s. In 2009, she was appointed as MD & CEO of Axis Bank and the bank’s stock has gained 90% since. Under her leadership, Axis Bank received a lot of accolades including “Bank of The Year in India” in 2014 by The Banker Magazine, Financial Times. Sharma retired on 31 December 2018.
Shanti Ekambaram is President – Consumer Banking at Kotak Mahindra Bank. Shanti has been associated with the business for more than 26 years and has been responsible for successfully setting up and running several business units for Kotak Mahindra.
She has been listed as one of the “Most Powerful Women in Indian Business” for three years in a row by Business Today. In 2016, Fortune India listed Shanti as one of the ‘Top 50 Most Powerful Women’ in India.
Naina Lal Kidwai
Naina is an Indian Banker, Chartered Accountant and business executive who was also the former head of HSBC India. Formerly, she was also the President of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). Kidwai has an MBA from Harvard Business School (1982) which made her the first Indian woman to graduate from the institute.
She has been repeatedly ranked in the Fortune Global List of Top Women in Business. Moreover, she has received the distinguished Padma Shri award for her contributions in the areas of trade and industry.
Kalpana was born in 1949 and was associated with ICICI Bank for well over thirty years. Currently, she is the Chief Executive Officer of JP Morgan India which is an extension of a 2.1 trillion dollar American company. Having pursued a degree in Law, Morparia joined ICICI in 1975 to work in their legal department.
She was responsible for listing ICICI Bank at the New York Stock Exchange and the merger of ICICI Limited with ICICI Bank which created India’s second largest bank. In 2008, she was named as one of “The 50 Most Powerful Women in International Business” by the Fortune Magazine.
These inspiring and fierce women are just great examples of how women can be successful in any field they wish to follow. Let’s give a round of applause to these exemplary women who are nothing short of awesome!
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