Forbes magazine has released its annual list of the world’s most powerful women in 2023, featuring 100 women from various fields and sectors who have made a significant impact on the global stage. Among them are four Indian women who have not only shattered glass ceilings but also showcased the diverse and influential voices emerging from India. These women are Nirmala Sitharaman, Roshni Nadar Malhotra, Soma Mondal, and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw.
Nirmala Sitharaman: The finance minister leading India’s economic recovery
Nirmala Sitharaman, 64, is a senior figure in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and has been India’s Minister of Finance and Minister of Corporate Affairs since 2019. She is the first woman to hold both these portfolios full-time, and the second woman after Indira Gandhi to serve as the defence minister of India from 2017 to 2019. She ranks 32nd on the Forbes list, up from 36th in 2022.
Sitharaman has been instrumental in steering India’s economy through the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, announcing several stimulus packages and reforms to boost growth and recovery. She has also been vocal about India’s role in the global financial system, advocating for a more equitable and inclusive multilateral order.
Roshni Nadar Malhotra: The billionaire chairperson of India’s largest IT company
Roshni Nadar Malhotra, 42, is the chairperson of HCL Technologies, making history as the first woman to lead a listed IT company in India. She is also the richest woman in India, with a net worth of $2.3 billion, according to Forbes. She ranks 60th on the list, down from 55th in 2022.
Nadar Malhotra is the only child of HCL founder Shiv Nadar, and has been involved in the strategic decisions of the company since 2009. She became the chairperson in 2020, succeeding her father. Under her leadership, HCL Technologies has expanded its global presence and digital capabilities, achieving record revenues and profits in the fiscal year 2022.
Soma Mondal: The ‘Queen of Steel’ heading India’s largest steel producer
Soma Mondal, 60, is the chairperson of the Steel Authority of India (SAIL), making history as the first woman in this role since January 2021. She is also the first woman functional director and chairman of SAIL, and the chairperson of SCOPE, an apex body of public sector enterprises in India. She ranks 70th on the Forbes list, making her debut this year.
Mondal has over 35 years of experience in the metal industry, starting her career at NALCO and rising to become the director (commercial) before joining SAIL in 2017. Under her leadership, SAIL achieved a significant milestone by surpassing the revenue mark of Rs 1 lakh crore for the first time in the fiscal year 2022. She was also honoured as the ‘CEO of the Year’ at the ETPrime Women Leadership Awards in 2023.
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw: The biotech pioneer and philanthropist transforming healthcare
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, 70, is the founder and executive chairperson of Biocon Limited and Biocon Biologics Limited, a biotechnology company based in Bangalore. She is also a former chairperson of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, and a recipient of the Othmer Gold Medal for her contributions to science and chemistry. She ranks 76th on the Forbes list, down from 68th in 2022.
Mazumdar-Shaw is a prominent Indian billionaire entrepreneur, with a net worth of $2.3 billion, according to Forbes. She founded Biocon in 1978, and has since grown it into a global leader in biosimilars, generic drugs that are similar to biologic drugs. She has also been at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19, developing vaccines, diagnostics, and therapies. She is also a renowned philanthropist, supporting causes such as education, healthcare, and environment.