All around us are success stories — some deeply inspiring and others less noticed — of women who have shown courage, will and determination in their lives and careers, believes journalist-turned-author Sudha Menon, who has penned a book that profiles the “leading ladies” of our times.

Her book, “Leading Ladies”, released here on Sunday, profiles 15 such success stories and documents how they have in their own fields and careers shattered the proverbial glass ceiling.

A journalist of 22 years, Ms. Menon decided to take up this task because she felt inspired by these success stories that she came across during her career.

She charts their lives and journeys, offering perspective and anecdotal narrative on each of these achievers.

Ranging from women entrepreneurs and CEOs such as Priya Paul and Naina Lal Kidwai who have climbed their way up the corporate ladder to athletes (P.T. Usha) and artistes Shubha Mudgal and Mallika Sarabhai, the book features a rather diverse set of women. The book was released by two “leading ladies” profiled in this book, Kiran Majumdar Shaw, chairperson and managing director of Biocon, and Vinita Bali, managing director of Britannia Industries.

Participating in a “question and answer” session that preceded the unveiling of the book, Ms. Shaw said that she drew inspiration from many women around her. “I can think of no one woman who has inspired me. But I feel that change-makers, or those who have been able to make difference with their lives, continue to inspire me. And I see a lot of that around me,” she said.

Ms. Bali spoke eloquently about her perceptions of women and empowerment in various socio-economic strata of society.

The changing of gender equations, she feels, is imperative to larger social change.

“When I have travelled to rural areas, I have seen many success stories. All these are hugely inspiring,” she said.

Ms. Menon too shared her experiences interacting with women in rural areas, and remarked that she found that where women were empowered, and were at the helm of governance (like in panchayats and corporations), villages were cleaner, more girls went to school and there was an overall uplift. “Education is, of course, key to bringing about this social change,” she added.

The book had been released in similar functions in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur. Ms. Menon, who was with The Hindu Business Line, now lives and works from Pune and Mumbai.

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