TomorrowMakers

Who says finance isn't for women? These Indian women are changing gender stereotypes.

For the longest time, the finance world has been considered a man's domain. Whether it is Banking, insurance or investments, to financial planning, women have often taken a backseat in terms of not just opinions, but action as well. That, however, is changing. Women have started proving their mettle in various sectors, including finance. Here are 4 inspirational Indian women who are showing other women that they can be just as successful at finance as men. 

1. Chanda Kocchar
Born in Jodhpur, Chanda Kocchar is the managing director (MD) and chief executive officer (CEO) of India’s second largest bank - ICICI Bank. Kocchar’s journey with ICICI Bank began in 1984 when she joined the bank as a trainee. She saw the bank through a time when economies around the world were hit by the recession. From a management trainee to the MD of the company, Kocchar’s life has been an inspiration for many women who want a career in the banking sector.

ICICI bank went on to become one of the largest private sector banks in India under her leadership. No wonder she figures on the list most powerful women in India quite often. For her notable contributions to the finance sector, Chanda Kocchar was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 2010.

 

2. Usha Ananthasubramanian

In her career spanning more than 30 years, Usha Ananthasubramanian has worked with banks like Bank of Baroda, Punjab National Bank, Bharatiya Mahila Bank. Currently, Ananthasubramanian is the MD and CEO of Allahabad Bank. Ananthasubramanian started her career as a specialist in the actuarial department with Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) where her background in statistics boosted her abilities.

She took control of Punjab National Bank while it was under the scrutiny of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for the deteriorating quality of its assets. The Government of India appreciated her contribution in the establishment of India’s first all-women bank - Bharatiya Mahila Bank.

3. Shikha Sharma

Shikha Sharma is currently the Managing Director & CEO of Axis Bank - the third largest private sector bank in India. She started her career with ICICI Bank in 1980 where she was instrumental in setting up ICICI securities, investment banking and retail finance.

With an experience of over three decades in the financial sector, Sharma aims to strengthen Axis Bank’s retain leading franchise, investment banking and payments’ space.

4. Arundhati Bhattacharya

Arundhati Bhattacharya is the former Chairman of the State Bank of India. In SBI’s history of 208 years, Bhattacharya became the first woman to achieve this feat. She ranked 25th in Forbes’ Most Powerful Women 2016.

While she headed SBI, Bhattacharya introduced a two-year sabbatical leave policy for the bank's female employees so that they can take leave for maternity or elder care. She also announced that all female employees of the bank will get free vaccinations against cervical cancer.

5. Chitra Ramkrishna

Ramkrishna was among the few who were chosen to start National Stock Exchange (NSE) from scratch and turn it into a strong counterpart of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). She started her career as a chartered accountant, and then went on to work in the project finance division of IDBI Bank. She also worked at Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). 

After 20 years of working at NSE, Ramkrishna was appointed its MD and CEO in 2013. In the same year, she won the Forbes India Women Leader of the Year award. She resigned from the post on December 2, 2016.

6. Usha Sangwan

Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) is technically run by four MDs. Usha Sangwan, the first woman to be appointed MD at LIC, took on the responsibility of managing India's biggest life insurance company when the other three MD positions were left vacant for 6 months. 

During this period, LIC’s market share rose from 70% to 71% despite fierce competition, and its claim settlement ratio stood at an impressive 99.6%. Sangwan is also in charge of the - Mission Office for Digital India – which rolled out products like UPI-enabled payments and Jeevan Pramaan, a biometric initiative to enable hassle-free annuity payments.

7. Vani Kola

Vani Kola's career spans 22 years in the Silicon Valley and 10 years as a venture capitalist. She is the founder and MD of Bengaluru-based Kalaari Capital - one of India’s leading early-stage venture capital firms.

On her return to India in 2005, she managed to raise her first capital - $210 million – in just 6 months. She has also achieved the feat of raising about $650 million and holding stakes in more than 60 start-ups, including Flipkart and Snapdeal.

Conclusion:

These women have not only guided their companies towards success but also made significant contributions to their respective finance sectors as a whole. And therefore, they serve as an inspiration to all those women who still think that certain jobs are impossible for a woman to handle.

 

 

How I did it

Rahila Khan
Homemaker

I am a single mother of one. I lost my husband just 5 years into my marriage. Life has been a struggle for me, but I have managed it and today I have no complaints. 

I was a young widow with a 3 year old son when my husband passed away due to a heart attack. My parents were my rock… Read more

Piya Sharma
Chartered Accountant

I am a CA by profession. As my training has taught me, investing is a big part of my financial strategy. I am slightly risk-averse and invest heavily in mutual funds, FDs and ULIPs. I stay away from the stock market. 

As the household expenses are taken care of by my husband, I use most… Read more

Rajesh Singh
Corporate Executive

Growing up I did not have much other than the bare necessities. Though my mom tried her best, she could not fulfil our wishes. I always knew I had to study and improve my life. Today, I own a bike, a car and my own humble house. This has only been possible because of my prudent wife.

We… Read more

Suraj Chandwani
Gas Station Owner

I like to work hard and live a good life. I want to give the best to my wife and son, as well as my parents who live with us. I own a gas station in the suburbs of Mumbai. I had taken a loan to set up my business. So a major chunk of my earnings goes in repaying the loan. I also have a car loan… Read more

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