Business Case Studies, Executive Interviews, Shahnaz Hussain on Women Executives

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Executive Interviews: Interview with Shahnaz Hussain on Women Executives
July 2007 - By Dr. Nagendra V Chowdary


Shahnaz Hussain
Pioneer and Leader of herbal care in India
She is also a pioneer of Vocational Training in Cosmetology in India.


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  • Does the Indian culture / societal norms on women prevent themfrom becoming better entrepreneurs?
    More than three decades ago, when I started my career, I felt strongly that women have the potential to be successful in the business world. It was like a latent force that had not really emerged, because of age-old traditions that the woman's place is in the home. Yes, cultural and social barriers have come in the way of women becoming better entrepreneurs, because the view had always been that the man is the breadwinner and a career is more important for him, while the woman is the home maker.When it came to acquiring

    professional qualifications, families gave preference to their sons over their daughters. But, times have changed. The last two decades have seen woman stepping out of her home, to earn a living, make a career, establish her own identity and fulfill her ambitions and dreams. She has made a mark in every field, including the world of business. As a career woman, she has not only surmounted the barriers of tradition and social norms, but has also come to terms with the importance of holding her own in the outside world. She has not abdicated her familial responsibilities and has shown that she can manage both home and career successfully. What is remarkable about Indian women is not just their achievements in different fields, but the fact that they have been able to break through the prejudices and barriers.

  • Do women make better managers or better leaders?
    A woman has what it takes to be successful as an entrepreneur. For one thing, while managing her different roles of wife, housewife, mother and career woman efficiently, she has learnt the values of time-management, patience and even handling budgets. Women not only have the courage, inner strength and foresight that are necessary to be successful as entrepreneurs, but are no less than men when it comes to intelligence, talents and creativity. For a creative person, the world of business offers many avenues, because creativity leads to innovative ideas. Translating them into practical terms is what business is all about. Today's woman stands side by side with her male counterpart, as far as education and higher qualifications go. In fact, I strongly feel thatwomen can be extremely dedicated and single-minded.

    Women do have qualities that make them good managers and leaders. The biological factor of the woman being "the gatherer," makes her good at being able to integrate and nurture. She can be good at dealing with people. Indeed, women have better communication and people skills. According to recent research, a woman's brains may be more efficient with regard to verbal ability. Her social conditioning and inherent nature can make her a good manager. In fact, women manage their homes, their children and their family budgets. They know how to adjust the family income to the family's needs. They juggle their different roles efficiently. They maintain the delicate relationships and bonds within the family and the extended family. Women are also good at organizing and time management. Where soft core incentives are concerned, I definitely feel that women are better at motivating and encouraging their juniors. They are certainly more tolerant, understanding, tactful, cooperative, consistent and sincere.

  • Women today have more opportunities than ever, to pursue desired life goals. Yet, we see many of them walking away from their dreams. When women enter the professional arena or start families, they are often forced to see that "ambition and passion for recognition" is unwomanly. Do women lack ambition? (Many also associate ambition with egotism or selfishness) How can women become ambitious about ambition including cultivating connections with people, who have the power to advance their work and publicly praise their successes?
    Women do not lack ambition, but many do sacrifice their own ambitions for the sake of the male members of the family. Many women also find it difficult to juggle familial and social responsibilities with career ambitions.

1. Women Executives/CEOs Case Studies
2. ICMR Case Collection
3. Case Study Volumes

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