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Himani Chandna Gurtoo, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 20, 2013
An increasing number of women are breaking the glass ceiling to take over as corporate bosses in industries that were earlier considered male-only bastions in India.

Sample this: US food giant Heinz, consumer goods major Colgate-Palmolive, breakfast cereal major Kellogg, food and dairy giant Britannia, oil drilling multinational Shell, and British liquor major Diageo, the makers of Johnnie Walker whiskies, are all led by women chief executives in India.

About 11% of 240 large companies - Indian-owned and multinational, private and state-owned - have women CEOs, according to a study carried out by executive search firm EMA Partners in 2009.

About half of them are in the financial services sector, but experts said that manufacturing sector, which traditionally did not attract women because of the nature of the business and the location of factories, are now increasingly appointing women CEOs.

Women are also more open to working graveyard shifts and are not averse to hectic travel schedules.

"Family support is critical to success at work," said Avani Saglani Davda, who was appointed CEO at Tata Starbucks Limited last year.

"Women are now setting the right expectations at work and home to create a balance."