Forbes 100 Richest Indians: Where are the women?
The Forbes 100 Richest Indians list is one of the most coveted lists that everybody in the business dreams to be featured on. It’s evident of the emulation existing between the business giants in our country to climb up the ladder on the list.
In this year’s list Mukesh Ambani has retained his number one spot as the world’s richest Indian for the tenth consecutive year. Naazneen Karmali, India Editor of Forbes Asia, said: “While the Indian billionaire factory continued to churn out new names from diverse sectors, the price of entry rose to a record high. The top 100 club is getting more exclusive with each passing year.”
This trend of having just three-four women in the list has been repetitive for the past five years.
What the Forbes list has also become exclusive about is that, it’s become exclusive only for men with just three women being featured exclusively on the list, while there a couple of others whose names are associated with their family business.
This data helps us to comprehend that there have been no new entrants in the Forbes list while various start-ups like Paytm by Vijay Shekhar Sharma have found their way to the list.
List of Women featured on the Forbes Richest Indians list.
2013 – Savitri Jindal, Anu Aga, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Shobhana Bhartia
2014- Savitri Jindal, Anu Aga, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw
2015- Savitri Jindal, Leena Tewari
2016- Savitri Jindal, Kiran Mazaumdar-Shaw, Leena Tiwari
2017- Savitri Jindal, Kiran Mazaumdar-Shaw, Leena Tiwari
It’s surprising to find no start-ups or businesses led by women have received the attention.
The marketplace has been male-dominated, the new wave of start-ups and entrepreneurship sparked a spirit among the working youth with the sudden surge of about 20,000 start-ups in the past two years. It’s surprising to find no start-ups or businesses led by women have received the attention. Devangi Narang, operations & research coordinator, Entrepreneurship cell of Lady Shri Ram College for Women points out to the fact that only 10% of the start-ups in India are by women and this is because of lack of investors in the market.
Aarisha Choudhary, President of the Entrepreneurship cell of the same institute says, “Women entrepreneurship is widely spoken about and is usually the buzz word when spoken about women empowerment and the development of the patriarchal society. But the number of women entrepreneurs or those willing to take the road to becoming one are dishearteningly very few. The dearth of role models, inspirations and encouragement would be a few reasons why women don’t take the road less travelled”.
While believing in the need to encourage fellow women to take the road less travelled, she mentions as to how the Entrepreneurship cell of LSR has organised various sessions with many women entrepreneurs where they talk about the challenges they have faced, like the lack of trust and interest of investors in supporting a woman’s venture as compared to a man’s idea. She emphasizes that the need of the hour is to create awareness about how women entrepreneurs do not have a similar ecosystem for their start-up.
The most important thought to be considered is, why is there a frenzy over women entrepreneurship, why is it considered as one of the special types of entrepreneurship? She strongly believes and accentuates that it’s time to break the stereotype and consider a woman entrepreneur no less than a man.
The whole point of having just three women in the list is not just about the need for empowering women to start their own business but it is about revealing the inequality that exists. Sana Oberoi, Coordinator, Entrepreneurship cell of LSR spoke about the need for bridging this inequality. She says, “Women have never been taken seriously in the corporate world. Though things have changed in the past decade, the socio-economic barriers are still present. The only way to bring about a change is when every man and woman understand the true meaning of equality and empowerment”.
“The world today needs leaders with compassion as compassion towards others builds trust and loyalty. Women, biologically are more sensitive towards others, that means the world needs more women leaders.”, said His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Let us all empower ourselves and ignite the compassion within us to bring about a revolution for a better world. At the end of it all, being featured in these celebrated lists is not what the ultimate success is. It is about stepping out to bring about a change. As, Rashi Sanon Narang, founder of HUFT, Heads Up for Tails, India’s leading online pet said, “It is beyond heartwarming to see a consistently growing number of Indian women pursuing successful careers across industries in metros and smaller cities alike.
While not many Indian women professionals/entrepreneurs may have made it to the list of “Richest Indians” yet, it does not take away from the fact that many Indian women are considered global icons for their competency, leadership and zeal. Names like Chanda Kochhar, Indra Nooyi are among the many that would testify this fact.”
Finally, let’s not stand still because of the inequality that we are engulfed within. Let us rather break these boundaries and reach out to the stars because we can do it. If not us, who else?
Pic Credit: Forbes.com
Reshma Ganeshbabu is an intern with SheThePeople.TV. The views expressed in this column are author’s own.