“I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress, which women have achieved,” B R Ambedkar
While nobody can doubt that Election 2014 has created some tectonic shift in India and Indian politics, one cannot overlook an emerging trend, that of the rise of brand ‘women leaders’. These are women who have not just led and won in the elections but have done it with aplomb and sheer merit.
Some noticeable facts:
A woman candidate (Meenakshi Lekhi of BJP), has bagged the New Delhi Lok Sabha seat after a gap of 54 years
Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa swept Tamil Nadu with 37 seats
BJP’s Smriti Irani gave a tough neck-to-neck fight to Rahul Gandhi in Amethi; at one point, clearly leading the battle in what has been a Congress stronghold for ever
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Bannerjee-led Trinamool Congress played a dream run and swept 34 of the 42 seats
Former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje accomplished her Mission 25 and created a historic win for BJP in Rajasthan
Sushma Swaraj, Supriya Sule, Kirron Kher, Gul Panag and many more are all personalities with distinct individual voices across different political parties, who did not fail to make their presence felt this election.
What catches attention is the way these leaders have won and in some cases retained their stronghold amidst competition and pressure. Even with a loss, Aam Adami Party’s Gul Panag has shown that you can pursue your passion and champion a cause head on.
Along with brand ‘Namo’, we can clearly distinguish these women leaders as brands themselves with individual styles and a presence that cannot be ignored.
While we always have had women leaders, the emergence of personality-based leadership is gaining ground.
To build a brand, one needs to have the following elements – ability to be memorable/distinct, consistent yet ability to adapt, likeability, meaningful approach and the ability to protect your identity. We can see that these women come strong on all the fronts.
It is not easy to build a brand in a market like India; we all have strong opinions, especially when it comes to women and more so women in power. These ladies are standing tall and are testimony to the fact that you can achieve anything if you just try hard.
On another note, though this is a significant trend in the positive side, let’s not forget that in a country of over a billion people, it is still a very small data point. Hopefully, as the brand Guru Seth Godin said, “Small is the new big,” this is a trend that will go big with time. But to make it big we need to start thinking big.