Forbes, the renowned business magazine, has unveiled its annual compilation of the World’s Most Powerful Women for the year 2023, spotlighting four exceptional Indian women. These dynamic individuals have not only shattered glass ceilings but have also left an indelible mark on the global stage, underscoring the diverse and influential voices emerging from India. Forbes employed four key metrics — money, media, impact, and spheres of influence — to ascertain the rankings.
As the world applauds their remarkable achievements, these four Indian women emerge as potent symbols of resilience, leadership, and excellence on the global platform:
Nirmala Sitharaman (Ranked 32)
Nirmala Sitharaman, a stalwart at 64, holds a prominent position in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and has been serving as India’s Minister of Finance and Minister of Corporate Affairs since 2019. Notably, she previously served as the 28th Defence Minister from 2017 to 2019, marking her as India’s second female to hold both the defense and finance portfolios after Indira Gandhi. In the 2022 Forbes list of the world’s most powerful women, she secured the 36th position, and this year, she climbs to the 32nd spot.
Ms Sitharaman’s journey is indeed a testament to her multifaceted leadership, having navigated both financial and defense realms.
Roshni Nadar Malhotra (Ranked 60)
Roshni Nadar Malhotra, aged 42, stands as an Indian billionaire and philanthropist of significant acclaim. As the chairperson of HCL Technologies, she etched her name in history as the first woman to lead a listed IT company in India. Being the only child of HCL founder Shiv Nadar, she holds the distinction of being recognized as the richest woman in India, according to the IIFL Wealth Hurun India Rich List (2019). Forbes consistently acknowledges her influence, with rankings at 54th in 2019, 55th in 2020, and 60th in 2023.
Ms Malhotra’s journey reflects not only her business acumen but also her commitment to philanthropy.
Soma Mondal (Ranked 70)
Soma Mondal, at the age of 60, currently serves as the Chairperson of the Steel Authority of India, achieving a historic milestone as the first woman in this role since January 2021. Born in Bhubaneswar, she graduated in Electrical Engineering in 1984 and has amassed over 35 years of experience in the metal industry. Rising from her beginnings at NALCO, she became Director (Commercial) before joining SAIL in 2017. Noteworthy career milestones include being the first woman Functional Director and Chairman at SAIL. Beyond corporate achievements, she holds the prestigious position of Chairperson of SCOPE and received the ‘CEO of the Year’ honor at the ETPrime Women Leadership Awards in 2023. Her ranking on the Forbes list is 70th.
Ms Mondal’s journey underscores her trailblazing path in the male-dominated steel industry, coupled with her commitment to leadership beyond corporate borders.
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (Ranked 76)
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, aged 70, stands as a prominent Indian billionaire entrepreneur renowned for founding and leading Biocon Limited and Biocon Biologics Limited in Bangalore, India. Apart from her pivotal role in the biotechnology sector, she previously chaired the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. Her numerous accolades include the Othmer Gold Medal in 2014 for significant contributions to science and chemistry. Recognized on the Financial Times’ Top 50 Women in Business list in 2011, Forbes positioned her as the 68th most powerful woman globally in 2019. In 2020, she received the esteemed title of EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year. Her current rank in the Forbes List of powerful women for 2023 is 76th.
Ms Mazumdar-Shaw’s journey is a narrative of entrepreneurial prowess and steadfast dedication to advancements in science and business.
These four exceptional Indian women, Nirmala Sitharaman, Roshni Nadar Malhotra, Soma Mondal, and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, have not only earned their places on the prestigious Forbes list but have also become emblematic figures, embodying the strength, leadership, and excellence emanating from India on the global stage.