2011 Dubai International Film Festival - Portraits

The Leading Ladies

From no support in professional front to becoming the leaders in their niche, women proudly emerged as winners in the male bastion. These women are inspiring, hardworking, smart and are empowering millions with their work. Be it any field whether it is technology, politics, sports, business or media, we have living role models who have worked passionately towards achieving their dreams, setting up examples and breaking the glass-ceiling that have existed for centuries now.

Check out these supremely successful women achievers that are making history and you should feel extremely proud of:

Arundhati Bhattacharya 2


Another super Indian woman with a long list of achievements and from the field of finance and banking industry, that hardly let women go beyond the clerical or PO jobs! Arundhati Bhattacharya served nearly four decades at the State Bank of India and was also appointed as the first women chairperson of SBI in 2013. She also made it to the Forbes list of most powerful women in 2016. She is well-known for the decisions she took in favour of women in the banking industry like introducing 2-year sabbatical leave policy for female employees for maternity or elder care and free vaccination against cervical cancer.



The boss lady and the face of Indian women-entrepreneur globally, Indra Nooyi, though needs no introduction, since we are very proud of the position that she has achieved for herself that we would still mention it, she is the CFO and President of PepsiCo! Nooyi has consistently been on the list of Forbes 100 most powerful women in the world, and the ’Fortune’ magazine named her No.1 on its annual ranking of Most Powerful Women in business for five consecutive years from 2006 to 2010. The Indian-American entrepreneur’s innovative ideas and overall success have earned her a wealth of awards and recognition. She’s an inspiration not only for women but also to men who aspire to make it to the top of their careers.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw


A women entrepreneur from 1978 when there was no start-up culture and women were hardly allowed to go out and work, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, started Biocon then! Her journey is mostly inspirational because she has faced numerous challenges and struggles before being in a powerful position. Today, she is a globally known biotechnologist and entrepreneur and can rightly be called India’s most successful and richest businesswoman. She’s also a part of various health programs and initiatives. Biocon has come a really long way since its commencement and has a net worth of more than 4000 crores. Now, this is what you call a “women of substance”.


The lady that ruled the world as Miss World and is winning billions of hearts across the globe is another name on this list. Making her way successfully towards Hollywood and getting awards and recognition is not just her only achievement, she’s been on Forbe’s list of most powerful women twice and is also the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador where she has been doing some great work and contributing towards social causes. She’s been supporting and investing in tech start-ups especially for women entrepreneurs and firmly believes in women empowerment. A beautiful girl with a golden heart, indeed.

Neelam Dhawan


Neelam Dhawan, who was rejected by companies like Hindustan Unilever and Asian Paints because of being a woman and was not suitable for market-facing jobs, went on to become the Managing Director of Hewlett-Packard (HP). She is now idolised by women in the IT sector for not giving up and struggling her way to success. She has also worked with Microsoft, and her contribution received much appreciation there as well. Her journey sets an example of not trembling by failures and pursuing your dreams.

Tessy Thomas


She was the first women scientist to head a missile project and since then she is known as the “Missile Woman of India”. She made her mark in a sector which was predominantly led by men and emerged as one of the most valued scientists that our country could get. She worked under her idol, APJ Abdul Kalam, who placed her in the Agni missile programme and later she went on to be the Project Director for Agni-IV missile in Defence Research and Development Organisation. Yes, that’s Tessy Thomas for you, an inspiration and a true reflection of empowered women.

Naina Lal Kidwai_ug_18


Well, to start with Naina Lal Kidwai has her name in history by being the first Indian female to graduate from the Harvard Business School and also the first woman president of Ficci. She was the head of HSBC India and apart from being a professional for years, she is closely associated with Not-for-profit sectors and works for women empowerment and safety. She belonged from a family of high achievers and started working back then when you could hardly see women at the workplaces, and it was completely male dominant.



Like father like daughter, Zia Mody is the daughter of former attorney-general of India, Soli Sorabjee but is hardly known by her father’s legacy as she did not join him even though they were in the same profession. She started off the corporate law firm set up in 2004, AZB & Partners, as a founding member and managing partner. Initially, she did become a victim of gender bias and discrimination where the clients were more comfortable with male lawyers, but her patience and confidence made her win a respectable place for herself.



Another first on the list that is one of the prominent women leaders of our country, Chitra Ramakrishna, the first women managing director and the ceo of NSE (National Stock Exchange), India. Started off her journey as a charted accountant, Chitra Ramakrishna has achieved several milestones in her career and has been named among the ‘25 Most Powerful Women in Business’ a couple of times by Business Today. She carved her journey with ups and downs gracefully and wrote her own success story.

Richa Kar 2


Breaking the stereotypes, Richa Kar, the founder of Zivame, brought India’s first ever lingerie store, online. A country where people are too conservative to even speak about intimate wear openly, Richa single-handedly changed the perception and added a fashion factor to it. Needless to say, it wasn’t easy to start off this business venture and to convince people about the idea of selling lingerie online. But she did rise through all of it as she had full confidence in her business idea that made Zivame a 600+ crore company that kick-started with an initial investment of `35 lakhs in 2011.

We are lucky to have these strong and ambitious women as our idols that inspire us not only to move forward despite the challenges but also to be victorious in whatever we do. Take a bow ladies, you have given so many other women, the right to dream and the wings to fly!

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