Women in Leadership: Going beyond the bottom line

While the relationship between women in corner rooms and corporate financial performance has been established time and again, the impact of women's leadership goes way beyond numbers to areas that are intangible but not insignificant

The need for gender diversity in leadership roles today goes beyond mere political correctness or social awareness. Studies have shown that having three women on a corporate board creates a “tipping point” which results in higher productivity growth and better financial performance. It makes business sense to have diversity in leadership.  US companies that started with at least three women on the board in the period 2011-2016, gained 37% in Earnings Per Share.

While the relationship between women in corner rooms and corporate financial performance has been established time and again, the impact of women’s leadership goes way beyond numbers to areas that are intangible but not insignificant. Women bring unique perspectives and transformational ideas to the organization, driving effective solutions that make a measurable impact on a company’s culture and, of course, its bottom line. Clearly, data indicates women leadership is well equipped to protect the interest of all, from investors to employees.

The story of Falguni Nayar, the billionaire icon, is a case in point. A graduate of the Indian Institute of Management, Nayar founded Nykaa, the online beauty products retail business that turned unicorn. Falguni Nayar, of course, is not alone at the top. A legion of women entrepreneurs and executives are building business empires and setting exemplary standards for the world to follow. Biocon is India’s largest biopharmaceutical company, manufacturing pharmaceutical ingredients that are sold across 120 countries. It was founded in 1978 by Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw with only Rs.10,000 initial capital. She has been featured on the Forbes list of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” and in the Financial Times list of “Top 50 Women in Business”.

The Apollo Hospitals chain was founded in 1983 as the first corporate healthcare provider in India. Steered by the four sisters Preetha, Sunita, Sangeeta and Shobhana, the conglomerate more than tripled profits in six years. Revenues shot up from Rs.100 Crores in 2003 to Rs.3200 Crores in ten years. When the pandemic started ravaging the country in 2021, Apollo Hospitals with their 12000 beds and state-of-the-art medical facilities stepped in to deliver critical care. The Economic Times Businesswoman of The Year Award to Preetha and Suneetha Reddy is in recognition of that outstanding performance.

From seasoned doyens like Ritu Kumar and Shahnaz Hussain who are global brands, to rising stars such as Richa Kar of Zivame and Shubra Chadda of Chumbak, the stories of women founders continue to inspire and motivate across the spectrum. Richa Singh launched YourDOST in the niche space of mental health, providing counseling through chat, phone, and video therapy. Demand for their services has shot up exponentially since the lockdowns started. Nina Lekhi started Baggit with a Rs 7000 loan from her mother, evolving it into a Rs 111 Crore brand that sells through 450 retail outlets today.

But no corporate lore is complete without the mention of Indra Nooyi, who, after moving through several senior positions at the company, became the fifth CEO of PepsiCo. During her tenure as CEO, her strategic redirection of the company grew revenues from $35 billion in 2006 to $63.5 billion in 2017. Her vision, “Performance with a Purpose”, drove long-term growth while also accounting for sustainability and green objectives. Always a champion of women’s causes, she tweeted— “At the end of the day, (and maybe at the beginning of a new year), don’t forget that you’re a person, don’t forget you’re a mother, don’t forget you’re a wife, don’t forget you’re a daughter.”

The adoption of the 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development, with the resolve to achieve full and productive employment for all women, is an indication of the importance of women’s participation in our endeavour to reduce poverty and promote economic growth. This period also put to bed any doubts on the ability of women to lead nations in times of crisis. Extraordinary women leaders such as Mette Frederiksen of Denmark, Sanna Marin of Finland, Angela Merkel of Germany, Katrín Jakobsdóttir of Iceland, Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand and Zuzana Čaputová of Slovakia have been lauded globally for their successful management of the pandemic.

We believe that women must be empowered to take on the challenges of leadership and navigate the route towards an equitable, sustainable, and profitable future. As a socially conscious organization, Dell provides equal opportunities to all employees and drives diversity and inclusivity through several programs such as the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network and Women in Action Employee Resource Group. With our Moonshot Goals, we have set targets to ensure that by 2030, 50% of our global workforce and 40% of our global people leaders would be women; as women have the power to transform businesses and build a stronger world.

[author title=”” image=”http://”]About the Author

Archana Sasan is Vice President and Legal Counsel, Dell Technologies[/author]

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top