The Changing Role of Women in Business

By Neena Dasgupta, CEO & Director, Zirca Digital Solutions Ltd.


Neena Dasgupta, CEO & Director, Zirca Digital Solutions Ltd.

ZIRCA is a digital brand marketing and content solutions company that helps brands and agencies achieve digital excellence. Neena is a recognised expert in the Indian Affiliate marketing for years and has been listed in the IMPACT's list of 50  Most Influential Women, 2018.

After decades of debates on issues like gender diversity, equal opportunities and pay parity, things are finally improving for women. They’re slowly and steadily proving their prowess in the corporate world, making the point loud and clear that they mean business and are here to stay.

Time to Change the Lens
Over the last ten years, women have been building businesses from scratch while making leaps and bounds in corporate settings across the globe. In India alone, women now run 14 percent of businesses which are self-financed, according to the Sixth Economic Census by the NSSO.

While women may possess both expertise and experience in a particular field, the thought of working under or with a woman leader remains distant to some. Using powerful advertising brands like Nike, Nescafe and Tanishq that showcase empowered women following their dreams, many are doing their part to bring about a change in the mindset. Tanishq, for example, has always sought to encourage women to achieve and value themselves highly through its many campaigns - one of them being the ‘For the Woman You Always Wanted to Be’ campaign. Modern women are evolving; they’re not afraid to explore uncharted territory. They want to be heard and acknowledged for the perspectives they bring.

“While male-dominated business tactics usually revolve around hard-and-fast decisions, feminine qualities entering business have proved that business growth isn’t only about the buck”

Success Starts with a P
Success stories of powerful women are testimony to the fact that passion, perseverance and potential pave the path to power. For instance, PepsiCo’s CEO Indra Nooyi was considered a ‘mediocre’ student by many. After pursuing an MBA and a Master’s Degree in Public and Private Management from Yale Management School, Nooyi climbed the ladder to success with her simple philosophy of ‘being yourself’.

Even while heading PepsiCo, when she planted the seed for thought about nutrition with a policy of ‘Performance with Purpose’, she faced a lot of resistance; being told to concentrate only on sales. Not deterred by criticism, she persevered and persuaded PepsiCo to take part in a joint effort to eliminate trillions of calories from their products.

HT Media’s Chairperson, Shobhana Bhartia too, who leads a Rs. 30 billion company that was once a sinking legacy, is a paragon of diligence and dedication. Being at the helm, Shobhana has been watching over the media house personally since over four decades. No matter where she is, she makes it a point to scan the headlines every night and approve them as Editorial Director before they reach the press. Under her supervision, HT Media is one of the most influential media groups in the country.

While these are just two of many such stories, with Chitra Ramakrishna being elected the first woman MD and CEO of NSE, or Nirmala Sitharaman becoming the second women Defence Minister of India after over thirty years, there is a remarkable trail being blazed by women in historically male-dominated industries.

Changing the Face of Business
Another important aspect for any business to flourish has been the need to build not just a firm, but a family. While male-dominated business tactics usually revolve around hard-and-fast decisions, feminine qualities entering business have proved that business growth isn’t only about the buck.

Strengthen empathy and relations among people in a workplace - and profits are seen to multiply significantly.

Jessica Alba's The Honest Company is one such brand which balances social responsibility while working in the best interests of its employees. The brand emphasizes the need for household baby and beauty products for ethical consumerism while encouraging honesty, shared values and a flexible work culture within the team. The company which started off with $200 million today has a net worth of $1 billion.

By and large, women are now seen taking risks, collaborating for professional growth, and strategizing and executing path-breaking work, while proving to be great leaders. Winning the trust of their colleagues and subordinates while rising to the role of mentors and motivational speakers, women have begun to take center stage as thought-leaders in every field and year after year; and these numbers are only on the rise.

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