For the first time in the history of IIM Bangalore, a woman has been presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award.
Malavika Harita, CEO, Saatchi & Saatchi Focus Networks, received the award on the occasion of 40th Foundation Day of IIM-B. Prof UR Ananthamurthy was the chief guest at the foundation day of the institute.
Speaking to dna, Harita said women should not have any gender barrier in their minds if they want to do something. “Daughters should be taught from the beginning that they can do anything that a man can do. Unfortunately, in our country, we tend to teach from the beginning what a woman cannot do,” said Harita.
Harita is perhaps the only woman in the country to head an advertisement firm. “I won’t say that there are not too many women present in our industry. But definitely there is a lack of women leaders. I feel the pressure in our industry makes them quit. However,
I do not really see it as a gender issue,” she said, adding that to succeed in this industry, one need to leave his ego at home.
According to her, there is nothing a woman cannot do what a man can. “I agree women need to be super organised to be able to manage both family as well as work front easily. But, I see no reason to complain since you are bringing up your own child, which can’t be a reason to feel handcuffed.”
She credits her family for her successful career. “My mother, from the beginning, told me to never make gender a excuse or barrier in my life. I am thankful to my parents for giving me such a belief.”
On work front, Harita feels that there are many more means to advertise now than what it was 20 years ago. “The industry has changed so rapidly. Social media has come up in a big way and it is a great medium for advertisers. Also, with people accessing news through internet and smartphones, newspapers have become another important
source for advertisers. However, television by far remains the most popular medium,” she says.