From corporate to politics: These Indian women are dominating
To achieve success in politics, one has to have grit, confidence, a go-getter attitude and a sharp mind. Much like what success in the corporate world demands. That's probably why the switch from corporate to politics came naturally to these Indian women. That, and a wish to do well for the country. Now they command respectable positions in their parties.
MP Meenakshi Lekhi studied botany, then law, and after stints with high-profile forums across India including the SC, she joined the BJP. Being argumentative and opinionated in a house full of renowned lawyers (including her husband and father-in-law) helped her groom herself for the role of party spokesperson, she says. She now actively engages with the entrepreneurial system and the fight for women's rights.
Trinamool Congress' MLA Mahua Moitra left behind a lucrative career in investment banking to pursue her passion for politics. In 2008, she quit as vice-president of JP Morgan in London to enter politics full-time. The sassy politician, who swears by her crisp cotton saris and Louis Vuitton bags, grabbed eyeballs when she showed Arnab Goswami the middle finger in a debate on live TV.
Renowned dancer Mallika Sarabhai, IIM-A graduate, experimented as an independent candidate against LK Advani in 2009, was speculated to be associated with Congress, and eventually with AAP. Her entrepreneurial spirit shone bright when she launched her own dance company, Darpana. In her fight against the BJP, she has been abused for being divorced, for having an openly-gay daughter… but has stood her ground.
It's not surprising if India's Minister of State for Commerce and Industry has a background in the corporate world. Before joining the BJP in 2006, Nirmala Sitharam got a Masters in economics from JNU, then worked with Pricewaterhouse Coopers as a senior manager and with the BBC World Service. Sitharaman played an important role as party spokesperson particularly during the 2014 campaigning.
Meera Sanyal, member of AAP's National Committee on Economic Policy, is the former CEO of the Royal Bank of Scotland, India. However, 26/11 made the naval officer's daughter decide to do something; she left a 30-year-old banking career to enter politics. Sanyal received an invitation from Hillary Clinton to join her International Council of Women's Business Leadership. Needless to say, she continues to impress.
31-year-old Nupur Sharma, who rose to fame after taking on Arvind Kejriwal in 2015, had a brush with politics when she helped her Hindu College friends in campaigning. In 2008, she became the DUSU president from ABVP. After completing her LL.M from London School of Economics, she dived into politics. She says her friends and family are more supportive after the 2014 elections.