“The superficial appearance on a list isn’t the issue here at all. However, if you are going to analyse lists of the wealthiest, then it’s only fair to investigate the lack of women in them. And the historically very low percentage of women in them is quite worrying.
Not everyone wants to be super wealthy, and in no way am I saying that every young man or young woman should want to be on such lists, but there should ideally be a proportionate, balanced representation in any such list,” says Shreyasi Singh, author of The Wealth Wallahs, a book on the nouveau riche of India.
Ms. Aga points to the larger issue here:
“In a country like India where even a woman’s survival is at stake (remember, female infanticide is prevalent in several regions), creating more rich women and listing them is not a priority. It is not just in business, but in every critical area – education or health – women are discriminated against. They are considered a burden. So, the absence from “rich” lists only goes to show women have limited access to yet another area of accomplishment.”
How long will it take and what we must do
“It’s hard to predict when the situation will change. We have to start by changing the mindset of the males in family owned businesses. Right from childhood, the message conveyed to children should be about the legitimacy of merit. Positions and succession should be open equally to women and men. We can hope to see sustained change only when such equal-opportunity practices get established in families,” says Ms. Aga.
If she had to put a number to it, Ms. Singh says, “I’m hoping we will see more professional self-made first generational women reach these list in the next 5 to 6 years with more women starting and running their own businesses.
We must highlight to young women that it’s professional success that will lead to wealth. Wealth is the end result. To get there you must stay the course of your career. That is what will land more women on Forbes covers as a consequence of their careers.”
It’s not about getting on a rich list. Some women are fine that way. But when an individual can’t get on one because of prejudice and perpetuated discrimination, then we must take a stand.
As The Wealth Wallahs author says, “Let’s keep the momentum going here.”