“I want the cultural change to speed up at work as well as at home.”
In her country where fewer than one in four women work, Rathnaprabha Manickavachagam can be proud of her career path. Having obtained an engineering degree and an MBA in finance, she began her career in Bangalore, India, before spending 7 years working in Louisville in the US.
Returning to her native country, she took a keen interest in banking technology. “I joined Societe Generale 10 years ago. I’m currently the Director of Innovation and Digital Transformation in India”. During her studies and her professional experience, Rathnaprabha has always been surrounded by an overwhelming majority of men. “The finance and digital sectors are very masculine fields: I have often been the only woman on various teams and decision-making committees but, thanks to my direct and forthright personality, that has never stopped me expressing my opinion, being listened to and being supported!”
A creative and strategic job
Fascinated by new and digital technologies, the young woman regularly reads articles on this topic in the specialised press and online: this is also a way of always being up to date with the latest innovations. “Things are always changing, and with such speed – it’s fascinating”.
Having become an expert in this domain, Rathnaprabha has put an open innovation network in place in collaboration with the main Indian technological universities and fintechs. “A creative and strategic job: with my teams, we are creating new digital solutions that will revolutionise the future of banking. It’s a constant and very stimulating challenge that calls on our intelligence!”
Making education a priority
Although Rathnaprabha is living proof that Indian women can have successful careers, she notes that women’s education and safety in her country still need to be significantly improved. “Less than 35% of Indian women work and more than 50 million girls don’t go to school”, she bemoans. India is a fast-growing economy, our culture is also evolving rapidly, but change is slow”.
Rathnaprabha is currently planning to become actively involved in a charity association to encourage the education of young girls in rural areas. “Women in towns and cities have seen their lives improve, and now we have to help those in the Indian countryside catch up: some regions are sorely lacking schools. There are so many improvements possible!”