The women on the Forbes India W-Power 2021 list might appear to have little in common but the opposite is true: An insatiable hunger, a strong work ethic, the ability to persist, their integrity and humble demeanour tie them together
As Falguni Nayar rang the opening bell at the Bombay Stock Exchange, marking her beauty startup Nykaa’s historic public market debut, she said: “I started Nykaa [Sanskrit for heroine] at the age of 50 with no experience. I hope my journey can inspire each of you to be the Nykaa of your lives.”
Our W-Power list strives to feature such superwomen—ladies who have taken charge, coped with crises and scripted their success. We scoured primary and secondary sources to draw up a long list of names and then whittled it down to 20 based on their achievements over the last year and their impact at large. The list is by no means exhaustive, but it is representative of women from diverse fields like business and science, entertainment to social impact and sport.
Some of the game-changing women include Rani Rampal, who led the women’s hockey team to a historic fourth-place finish in the Olympics; Lizzie Chapman, the outspoken co-founder and CEO of the fast-growing ‘buy now, pay later’ startup ZestMoney; and Dr Priya Abraham, director of the National Institute of Virology in Pune who led the team that was the first to formulate India’s RT-PCR methodology to start Covid-19 testing
We have known names like Arundhati Bhattacharya who, instead of opting for an easy life after her stellar stint at SBI
, has chosen to get past her comfort zone by steering Salesforce’s India operations. Technology, by her own admission, is not her strength but one that she is determined to make into. Then, there are fresh finds like 23-year-old environmental activist Disha Ravi and IPS officer Rema Rajeshwari, who is tackling fake news in India’s backward, low-literacy regions through storytelling and cultural performances.
The women on the list might appear to have little in common but the opposite is true: An insatiable hunger, a strong work ethic, the ability to persist, their integrity and humble demeanour tie them together. They are bold, sassy and gutsy. Through their chosen areas of work, they are empowering people, meeting an unmet need and making the world better.
And just like Nykaa
’s scorching stock market debut shows—the share price rose 80 percent on the first day of trading—they drive home the point that we are better off when more heroines play the lead.
(This story appears in the 03 December, 2021 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)