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#GirlBoss: 11 Indian Women We Can Learn SO Much From!


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There are so many success stories around us and yet we are always waiting for inspiration to hit us! As Indian women continue to rise against all odds, we thought we’d bring the stories of these successful Indian women to you on a platter.

Read, absorb, remember, imbibe, repeat! Wishing you all success at this game called life. :)

1. Chanda Kochhar

For every working woman who feels there are too many obstacles in the corporate world, there’s a Chanda Kochhar saying, “What glass ceiling?” Managing Director and CEO of ICICI Bank, she began her career as a management trainee in 1984 and gradually rose through the ranks. Not many know that Kochhar's father passed away when she was just 13 and her mother was left to support the family. Kochhar considers both parents to be powerful influences. She said in an interview, “My father, in a way, was a mentor in the way he instilled the basic values and ethics in me. My mother was a mentor by showing me an example to say that if women have tenacity they can achieve whatever they have to.” We are pretty certain that it is this very tenacity that has led her to achieve all that success and an equally well-balanced life!

Successful Indian Women Chanda Kochhar

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

2. Kangana Ranaut

This simple girl from the hills of Himachal Pradesh has earned her place as the queen of our hearts, to say the very least. She didn’t come from a film family and didn’t even speak proper English when she first moved to the big, scary world of Bollywood! But her willingness to reinvent herself over and over – that’s the secret to her success. Remember all those not-so-important characters she's played to keep working in Bollywood until she struck gold? Yes, it has NOT come easy for her, and yes, she totally deserves her time in the sun!

Successful Indian Women Kangana Ranaut

 Image: Viral Bhayani

3. Anita Dongre

She has been featured on the cover of FORTUNE magazine as one of the 50 most powerful women in business, and if you think that isn’t enough reason to put her on this list, we’ll give you more! At a very young age, Anita decided she wanted to become a designer, a decision opposed by her parents who were concerned with her choice of career. With talent, must come vision and that, the ‘Queen of Pret’ as she has often been dubbed, has always had in abundance. Today, her brands AND (western wear), Global Desi (indo-western) and her signature label Anita Dongre (Timeless - bespoke bridal wear, Linterpret - pret label, Grassroot - eco friendly label and AD Menswear) sell from more than 550 stores across India, including multi-brand outlets. How’s that for inspiration?

Successful Indian Women Anita Dongre

 Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

4. Priyanka Chopra

This girl makes you feel bad about not doing enough in life yourself! We all get the same 24 hours in a day and yet she’s acting (and winning awards), singing (and becoming an international pop sensation), debuting on American TV Shows and being a model daughter – ALL AT ONCE! If there’s one thing to learn from Priyanka Chopra, it’s her dogged determination – and we’re applauding it every chance we get!

Sucessful Indian Women Priyanka Chopra

Image: Viral Bhayani

5. Saina Nehwal

When you are the World Number 1 in women’s badminton, we already know that there’s so much to learn from you! The story goes like this - when Saina was born, her grandmother was hoping for a boy. She was so upset that Saina was a girl that she didn’t see her face for almost a month of her being born. Her grandmother clearly didn’t anticipate that one day that very girl would go on to become a role model for her country! Maybe Saina was born with this steely determination, because slowly but steadily, she kept practicing and playing – losing some, winning more! She used to sweat it out 16 hours at a stretch during her practice sessions. Knowing that this was a field that needed practice and perseverance, she overcame turbulent times and became the star we all know her to be today!

Sucessful Indian Women Saina Nehwal

Image: Saina Nehwal on Twitter

6. Ekta Kapoor

Founder and Creative Director, Balaji Telefilms, Ekta Kapoor is known for her fierce work ethic. Having changed the way Indians view television, Ms Kapoor has ruled the airwaves for over a decade now! Being superstar Jeetendra’s daughter has nothing to do with her success, and the fact that she’s self-made makes her wins even sweeter! Having moved from producing TV shows to successfully producing Bollywood films, we wonder if she has the Midas touch. Not relying on her famous father and building an empire of her own is commendable, and we are glad our country has a woman who’s shown us how it’s done!

Ekta Kapoor

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

7. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw

Businesswoman and entrepreneur Kiran Mazumdar Shaw is the Chairman and Managing Director of Biocon, country’s leading biotech company. But what’s truly interesting is her humble beginning - she started Biocon in 1978 from a rented garage space in Bangalore and with an initial investment of just Rs 10,000. In the beginning, she had to face A LOT of problems and challenges. Banks were not keen on giving her loans because biotechnology was a new field and women entrepreneurship was quite rare. She had a difficult time finding a workplace and convincing people to join her organization (who would have thought?). The lady who went on to become one of the richest people in the country kept her beliefs intact despite the obstacles, eventually crossing all entrepreneurial barriers!

Successful Indian Women Kiran_mazumdar_shaw

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

8. Twinkle Khanna

We are crushing a little bit on Mrs Funny Bones! Even though she comes from an aristocratic Bollywood bloodline, Twinkle Khanna - daughter of Rajesh Khanna and Dimple Kapadia - hasn’t made this list owing to that. No, it’s also not because she plays doting wife to one of the country’s biggest superstars, Akshay Kumar. It’s ALSO not because she looks so amazing and you can never tell she’s a mother of two! It’s because no matter how her Bollywood career ended up, she continued to be her fabulous self! Today, she runs a successful interior store, The White Window, and she has turned columnist for various publications. Her let’s-not-take-ourselves-so-seriously attitude and awesome sense of humour make us admire her so much. We think it’s also the reason she is the success she is today!

Successful Indian Women Twinkle_Khanna

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

9. Ritu Dalmia

India is at the helm of a gastronomical revolution, and if there’s someone who started it, it would have to be Indian celebrity chef and restaurateur, Ritu Dalmia. Our snooping around (by that, we mean internet research) has led us to find these oh-so-impressive stats: five successful Delhi restaurants, a flourishing catering and events company, three best-selling cookbooks and three television shows – these are the things she has to her credit! One of the most recognizable stars of Indian fine dining, we thank Ritu Dalmia for sumptuous Italian food - but we thank her more for (finally) turning the "women are cooks, men are chefs" sentiment on its head!

Successful Indian Women Ritu Dalmia

 Image: Chef Ritu Dalmia On Twitter

10. Mary Kom

“If I, being a mother of two, can win a medal, so can you all. Take me as an example and don’t give up.” – a quote by “Magnificent Mary”. She’s earned that title and has a lifetime of hard work to show for it! So petite yet so fierce – the inimitable Mary Kom came from circumstances that could have actually broken the best of us, but she used that as a driving force rather than a reason to fail! Recipient of the Arjuna Award, the Padma Shri Award, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award and a special award from AIBA - Mary Kom created history by becoming the first person from North-East to win a bronze medal at the Olympics (2012, Womens Boxing). She makes you want to shout from rooftops, “I’m a woman and I’m proud of it!”, doesn’t she?


Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

11. Mira Nair

Can we just say – thank you, Mira Nair for finally putting real Indian women in films on the world map, and not just for looking pretty on screen! Now it’s a different story altogether with many more women joining the film industry as writers and directors, but Mira Nair was one of the first women who crossed that bridge, and with what elan! One of her first films, Salaam Bombay (1988), won the Golden Camera Award at the Cannes Film Festival and also earned the nomination for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Her best-known works - Mississippi Masala, The Namesake, Monsoon Wedding - reflect her style, which is inimitable, as it balances Indian sensibilities with those of the Western world.

Successful Indian Women Mira_Nair

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Now, tell us - are you inspired? Or are you INSPIRED?! :-)

MUST-READ: #GirlBoss: 15 Signs You’re A Natural Born Leader!

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