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This article was first published 9 years ago  » Getahead » 'Women really don't want special treatment in any organisation'

'Women really don't want special treatment in any organisation'

By Prasanna D Zore
September 18, 2014 16:16 IST
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Rupa Kudva, managing director and chief executive officer of credit rating agency CRISIL, talks about her career lessons and success mantras.

Counted among the top 50 influential CEOs in the country, Kudva was recently honoured as Woman of the Year 2013-14 by the Ladies’ wing of the Indian Merchants’ Chamber.

What does the Woman of the Year Award mean to you?

I think awards like this, which are meant to recognise individuals or organisations, are also meant to inspire.

My generation has seen unprecedented professional growth. We have been the biggest beneficiaries of the reforms process that was unleashed in India over 20 years ago. No generation before us had this kind of trajectory or growth.

That is why I believe that it is important for privileged people like us to make that success count for something. At the end of the day, this country has given me outstanding education at a very low cost.

What kind of education did you receive?

I went to school in Assam and Meghalaya, which had some really outstanding schools then. The Kendriya Vidyalaya School that I graduated from produced India’s top 15 rankers for four years in a row, which is pretty unusual.

After that I went to IIM-Ahmedabad, at that time a government-subsidised institution. The fees were exceptionally low.

That I why I say I feel privileged. If I have been given an opportunity by the country to achieve huge mobility, professionally and socially, I must make it count for the country’s benefit.

What challenges did you face?

I’ve had a relatively easy and professionally very rewarding life.

I have been fortunate to work for most of my career in an outstanding and nurturing organisation like CRISIL.

When I joined the company, I felt that I would succeed over here. It’s a company that valued initiative. It’s a company where it did not matter that you were a woman.

Women really don’t want special treatment in any organisation. All that they need is not to be discriminated against because of their gender.

So, what matters to women is that it should not matter that they are women.

What does it take to be successful?

We are surrounded by bright people who work exceptionally hard.

I think two things make the ultimate difference: focus and passion.

What lessons have you learnt career-wise?

I think women tend to underestimate their own achievements and accomplishments.

Therefore, they are always a little hesitant to ask for what they want or what they deserve.

That is the biggest barrier to women reaching the very top in leadership positions.

As women begin to feel comfortable with the acknowledgement of the fact that they are leaders and can be leaders, we will see things dramatically changing.

You have to have faith in your own abilities and self-belief in what you are capable of.

Photograph: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

Note: Picture used only for representational purpose

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Prasanna D Zore