Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How the Richest Woman in India Became the Leading Spouse in Her Marriage

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is the richest woman in India. She heads the drug company Biocon. Ariel Levy's fine portrait in the New Yorker shows the unexpected course that led a science-trained young Indian woman to fight sexist resistance to make a big business success.

I was particularly interested in how Mazumdar-Shaw's marriage balanced with her business career. Mazumdar-Shaw is married to John Shaw, from Scotland. Late in the profile, Levy gives this account of how the Mazumdar and Shaw union settled their particular work/life question.

Mazumdar-Shaw thinks of her husband as "a very secure person" who is comfortable in his supporting role. "After we got married," John Shaw recalled, "we sat down and Kiran said, 'Now, John. You've got a career in the textile industry. I've got a career in the biotech industry. One of us has got to give up our career, and it's not me.'" When he looked at her ledgers, he agreed.
Every marriage comes down to the individual qualities of the couple.

Still, I can't help but think that if Kiran Mazumdar had married an Indian, she might have gotten more resistance from her husband when she suggested that he give up his career.

And perhaps of all the non-Indians she might have married, she was fortunate in marrying a Scot - he agreed that he should be the one to step back and support when he looked at her ledgers.

Sounds like a fine partnership.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Glad it worked out, but it sounds like something that is better discussed before you decide to get married instead of waiting until after and telling your husband/wife, "hey, you need to quit your job now."