Friday, December 05, 2014

Women and Banking in India



The banking sector in India did have its male domination till the 1980s, but in the last three decades the gender equilibrium became 'fairly' poised. They negotiate the prices of sarees and jewelry just as well as they structure
A deal in a bank. They aren’t just inspirational figures, but heroes for everyone – male or female – who dream of rising to the top. As heads of some of India’s most respected banks, they crunch numbers, strike deals that change fortunes and display a kind of grit that often crumbles many.

According to a study by Standard Chartered Bank about women on corporate Boards in India, the financial sector performs best in terms of gender diversity, nine of the eleven banks listed on BSE-100 have a woman on their Board and two of these banks have a female CEO. In fact, through the recent recession, Reserve Bank of India had two women deputy governors on board, Usha Thorat and Shyamala Gopinath. ICICI Bank, India's second largest bank after State Bank of India, is headed by a woman, Chanda Kochhar. So is the third largest in the private sector, Axis Bank, with Shikha Sharma at its helm. The list does not end here. There are many more who are currently at the topmost positions of various banks and NBFC’s leading those companies to new heights. But how did these women climb the ladder? Was it an easy task? "You need to have knowledge levels and you need to work 10 times harder than your male colleagues to prove yourself," says United Bank of India's Bhargava. Bank of India Chairperson and Managing Director Iyer agrees. "Once they know that here is a person who is good, the sailing becomes very smooth," she says.

India’s first women’s bank, the Bharatiya Mahila Bank was inaugurated in November last year in Mumbai inside the iconic Air India building at Nariman Point. BMB, headed by Usha Ananthasubramanian, will place emphasis on funding for skill development to help in economic activity for women. Moreover, the products will be designed in a manner to give a concession on loan rates to women.

The bank also aims to inspire people with entrepreneurial skills and, in conjunction with NGOs, plans to locally mobilize women and train them in vocations like toy-making, driving tractors or mobile repairs. One of the other objectives of the bank is to promote asset ownership amongst women customers. The Indian banking sector is thus witnessing significant changes. All we can be is hopeful that these significant changes in the banking sector trickle down to every level and improve the condition of women in the society

~ Survi Bajaj Information Management PGDM 2014

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