|SBI chairman A Bhattacharya|
AS THE world celebrated Women’s Day on March 8 highlighting the achievements of the fair sex, the public sector has not been able to absorb many women in India. Despite its potential and conducive work atmosphere aspects such as ethics, vigilance and flexible work hours, public...sector units still attract far lesser number of women employees than they ideally should be.
This was stated by R Koteeswaran, CEO and MD of Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) at a function in Chennai.
Speaking during a seminar session titled ‘Empowering Excellence’ organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) on the occasion of International Women’s Day in Chennai, Koteeswaran said that the PSUs offered more opportunities to attain career growth than any private sector company.
Stating that the public sector offers a unique opportunity to scale new high, he said that he could rise from a clerical cadre employee to the managing director. This was possible only in a PSU like IOB, he added.
Adding that risk management sector in the banking sector offered great opportunities for women, Koteeswaran said that banking sector was still the biggest employer of women in the country. “Around one-third of IOB employees are women,” he said.
Slowly the scenario is changing. A number of woman employees are reaching the top level of public sector banks. The classic example is Arundhati Bhattacharya, who is the first woman to be the chairman of State Bank of India.
In fact, the PSU sector took 31 years since nationalization to get its first woman CEO when Ranjana Kumar took over the reins at the Chennai-based Indian Bank in May 2000.
The second woman chairperson, H.A. Daruwalla, reached the top in 2005 at the Mumbai-based Central Bank of India.
Out of 2.18 lakh bank officers in the country, only 5.6 percent are women. But women’s representation goes up to 21 percent when it comes to the clerical cadre. Overall, women account for 14 percent of 7.71 lakh state-run bank employees. Of these, women in executive positions were only 2.7 percent.
In the past year itself, five women have become CEOs at state-run banks in the country, joining a small club of women at the top of the banking industry across the world.
In 2013, Usha Ananthsubramaniam took over as chairperson and managing director of the country’s first all woman bank – the Bharatiya Mahila Bank, close on the heels of Arundhati Bhattacharya becoming the chairman of State Bank of India, the largest bank in India. Archana Bhargava was elevated to the top job at United Bank of India while Vijayalakshmi R. Iyer became the head of Bank of India and Shubhalakshmi Panse became chairman and managing director of Allahabad Bank last year.
Forbes Asia has named Arundhati Bhattacharya in its annual 50 ‘power businesswomen’ list. The much coveted list appeared in the magazine's March 2015 special issue.
Arundhati Bhattacharya is referred to as 'the first lady of Indian banking' who chairs the Indian behemoth, SBI with 225 million customers and assets of $300 billion.Forbes Asia said as 'SBI lifer', Bhattacharya has had her hands full addressing bad loans and shoring up the bank’s capital.