Film producer Guneet Monga, who won an Oscar for her eye-opening documentary about menstruation, has made the list of this year’s 31 Most Powerful Women in business in India.

The awards, which have been run by Business Today since 2003, recognize the achievements of women who have broken the glass ceiling and are making a positive impact on the Indian economy.

Business Today said over the past 16 years, the Most Powerful Women (MPW) list had reflected a shift in focus from women involved in more traditional finance and IT industries to “a vast representation” this year of women from the media and entertainment industry.

Raising awareness

Monga, 35, founded Sikhya Entertainment in 2008 and is best known for the box-office Hindi romance The Lunchbox, which was nominated for a UK Bafta award in 2015.

She teamed up with Netflix and US charity The Pad Project to make Period. End Of Sentence., which tells the story of the women of Hapur, who create a micro-economy selling affordable, biodegradable sanitary pads in their village.

The short film raised awareness of the plight of some female students, who would miss school because they couldn’t afford sanitary pads.

Monga is joined on the list by fellow entertainment industry leading lights including Netflix India’s Director of International Originals, Monika Shergill; director and screenwriter Zoya Akhtar; and Apurva Purohit, president of publishing firm Jagran Prakashan and author of ‘Lady, You’re Not a Man!’: The Adventures of a Woman at Work.


What is the World Economic Forum's India Economic Summit 2019?

Under the theme, Innovating for India: Strengthening South Asia, Impacting the World, the World Economic Forum's India Economic Summit 2019 will convene key leaders from government, the private sector, academia and civil society on 3-4 October to accelerate the adoption of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies and boost the region’s dynamism.

Hosted in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the aim of the Summit is to enhance global growth by promoting collaboration among South Asian countries and the ASEAN economic bloc.

The meeting will address strategic issues of regional significance under four thematic pillars:

• The New Geopolitical Reality – Geopolitical shifts and the complexity of our global system

• The New Social System – Inequality, inclusive growth, health and nutrition

• The New Ecological System – Environment, pollution and climate change

• The New Technological System – The Fourth Industrial Revolution, science, innovation and entrepreneurship

Discover a few ways the Forum is creating impact across India.

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Start-ups and rising stars

Entrepreneurial Indian women are making their mark, with Divya Gokulnath, co-founder of educational technology firm Byju's; Meena Ganesh, CEO and MD of healthcare provider Portea Medical; and Falguni Nayar, CEO and founder of online beauty store Nykaa, all on the list.

Ashu Suyash, MD and CEO of tech company CRISIL, and Pallavi Shroff, Managing Partner of law firm Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas, have both now won the MPW for the seventh time – and enter the Business Today Hall of Fame.

Eight Rising Stars under 35 were also honoured for their impact on the business world, including Ashni Biyani, MD of Future Consumer and Gazal Kalra, co-founder of tech-enabled logistics firm Rivigo.

The latest list comes as business leaders, academics and politicians from South Asia gather in New Delhi for the World Economic Forum’s India Economic Summit, in collaboration with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) – to discuss how innovation can strengthen the region’s economy.

More glass to break

Speaking at the awards ceremony in September, Business Today’s Editor Prosenjit Datta said: “Despite the increase in the numbers of women breaking the glass ceiling, their representation in the overall workplace is growing at a sluggish pace.”

Image: World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report

As the above chart from the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2018 shows, India still has a way to go for men and women to reach gender parity, particularly in the economic participation and opportunity pillar.

But recognizing those women who are smashing through the glass ceiling is a good start.