International Women's Day: 10 of the world's most influential and inspirational women
As 8th March is celebrated as International Women’s Day, we take you through a list of 10 global successful, influential and inspirational women, whose footprints can be eye-openers to millions of women across the world.
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw: She is the chairperson of Bangalore-based biotechnology company Biocon Limited and the chairperson of IIM-Bangalore. As of 2015, Forbes has listed Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw as the 85th most powerful woman in the world. She was also voted the global Indian of the year by Pharma Leaders Magazine in 2012. She is the recipient of several international awards including the Othmer Gold Medal (2014) for her outstanding contributions in the field of science and chemistry. Mazumdar-Shaw started Biocon India in 1978 in the garage of her rented Bengaluru house. Within a year of inception, the biotechnology firm became capable of manufacturing enzymes and exporting the same to Europe and USA. Under her guidance, Biocon expanded from an enzyme-manufacturing firm to a fully integrated bio-pharmaceutical industry.
Marissa Mayer: Mayer, who is the former president and CEO of Yahoo!, a position she has held since July 2012. She initially joined Google in 1999 as its 20th employee. Starting her career in the search engine giant as its first female engineer, Marissa Mayer was later promoted to product manager and later became Director of Consumer Web products. Among her many contributions are the layout of Google's iconic search homepage, key roles in Google Search, Google Images, Google News, Google Maps, Google Books, Google Product Search, Google Toolbar, iGoogle, and Gmail, which she oversaw after her promotion as Vice President of Search Products and User Experience in 2005.
On May 20, 2013, Mayer led Yahoo! to acquire Tumblr in a $1.1 billion acquisition. In July 2013, Yahoo! reported a fall in revenues, but a rise in profits compared with the same period in the previous year. In September 2013, it was reported that the stock price of Yahoo! had doubled over the 14 months since Mayer's appointment. Marissa Mayer was ranked the 16th most-powerful businesswoman in the world in 2014 and also ranked sixth on Fortune's 40 under 40 list.
Virginia Rometty: Virginia 'Ginni' Rometty, the current Chairman, President and CEO of IBM and the first woman to head the company joined as a systems engineer in 1981. She later became a member of the tech giant's Consulting Group in 1991 and became senior vice president and group executive for sales, marketing and strategy in 2009.
Virginia Rometty is "credited with spearheading IBM's growth strategy by getting the company into the cloud computing and analytics businesses and was also at the helm of readying Watson, the Jeopardy! playing computer, for commercial use. Virginia Rometty has been named to Fortune magazine's "50 Most Powerful Women in Business" for ten consecutive years, ranking #1 in 2012, 2013 and 2014, and was one of Forbes magazine's "World's 100 Most Powerful People" in 2014.
JK Rowling: The author of the ultra-popular 'Harry Potter' novels has led a "rags to riches" life story, in which she progressed from living on state benefits to multi-millionaire status within five years. Rowling is United Kingdom's best-selling living author, with sales in excess of £238m and was ranked as the forty-eighth most powerful celebrity of 2007 by Forbes.
The 'Harry Potter' novels have become the best-selling book series in history and been the basis for a series of films which became the highest-grossing film series in history.
Chanda Kochhar: She is the managing director and CEO of ICICI Bank, a leading private sector bank of India. Chanda Kochhar joined Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI) in the year 1984 as a management trainee and became instrumental in establishing ICICI bank in 1990. Her career in the banking sector grew significantly over the years and in 2006, she was appointed as deputy managing director of ICICI Bank. From 2009 till date, Kochar is serving as the managing director CEO of the bank. She is responsible for handling the bank’s operation in India and overseas. Apart from being the MD and CEO of ICICI Bank, Chanda Kochar also serves as the president of the International Monetary Conference.
Indra Nooyi: The India-born naturalized American, business executive, who is the current Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PepsiCo has been consistently ranked among the World's 100 Most Powerful Women. Nooyi was ranked 13 in the list of Forbes World's 100 most powerful women in 2014.
Indra Nooyi joined PepsiCo in 1994 and was named president and CFO in 2001. PepsiCo's annual net profit has risen from USD 2.7 billion to USD 6.5 billion since her appointment as CFO. She has been responsible for directing the company's global strategy for more than a decade and led PepsiCo's restructuring, including the 1997 divestiture of its restaurants into Tricon, now known as Yum! Brands, the acquision of Tropicana in 1998, and the merger with Quaker Oats Company, which also brought Gatorade to PepsiCo.
Indra Nooyi was named on Wall Street Journal's list of 50 women to watch in 2007 and 2008, Time's 100 Most Influential People in The World in 2007 and 2008, number 3 inmost powerful woman in 2008 by Forbes, number 1 most powerful woman in business in 2009 and 2010 by Fortune, who also ranked her 6th most powerful woman in the world on 7 October 2010.
Nina Tandon: Nina Marie Tandon, American biomedical engineer, is the CEO and co-founder of EpiBone, "the world's first company growing bones for skeletal reconstruction." She currently serves as an adjunct professor of Electrical Engineering at Cooper Union and is a senior fellow at the Lab for Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering at Columbia. Nina Tandon works at Columbia's stem cells and tissue engineering labs where she develops cardiac tissue to repair damage in heart attack patients. Tandon aims to create a living heart for transplants. Nina Tandon was one of four women among 38 electrical engineers in her graduating class at Cooper Union in New York City.
Arundhati Bhattacharya: Kolkata-born banker Arundhati Bhattacharya, the Chairperson of State Bank of India (SBI) is the first woman to hold that post. Initially joining SBI in 1977 as probationary officer at the age of 22, Bhattacharya held several positions during her 36-year career with the bank including working in foreign exchange, treasury, retail operations, human resources and investment banking. She has also served at the bank's New York office and has been involved in the launch of several new businesses such as SBI General Insurance, SBI Custodial Services and the SBI Macquarie Infrastructure Fund. After her appointment as SBI Chairperson on 7 October 2013, Arundhati Bhattacharya introduced a two-year sabbatical policy for women employees for child or elder care.
She has been ranked 30th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes in 2015, 4th most powerful women in Asia Pacific by Fortune and has also featured in the list of FP Top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine.
Mary Barra: The Chief Executive Officer of General Motors holds the honour of being the first female CEO of a major global automaker. Starting her career at the firm as a co-op student in 1980, Barra held a variety of engineering and administrative positions, including being manager of the Detroit/Hamtramck Assembly plant.
She became Vice President of Global Manufacturing Engineering in February 2008 and advanced to the position of Vice President of Global Human Resources in July 2009, a position she held till February 2011, when she was named Executive Vice President of Global Product Development. The latter position included responsibilities for design; she has worked to reduce the number of automobile platforms in GM. In August 2013, her Vice President responsibility was extended to include Global Purchasing and Supply Chain. Barra was listed as one of the world's most powerful women by Forbes, for the third time, in 2014. She was listed seventh, rising from 35th in 2013.
Chhavi Rajawat: She is the first woman sarpanch in India, who gave up her corporate job to serve as the sarpanch of Soda, a village situated around 60 km away from Jaipur. She is also the only sarpanch in India with a MBA degree. After being elected as the sarpanch of Soda, she is continuously working towards the development of the village and implementation of projects like toilets facilities and rainwater harvesting. She is considered to be the changing face of rural Rajasthan.