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She Walks, She Leads by Gunjan Jain – Success Stories of Contemporary Indian Women

16th February, 2017

A collection of inspirational stories of Indian women who have achieved success in life.

In Brief

It was a pleasure to read more about the lives of ladies who have made it big in contemporary India. There are stories of women who hailed from a privileged background as well as those who struggled in an alien field and found success because of their passion. The book is well researched and Jain has even met up with many close friends of the ladies mentioned to get a well rounded look at their lives. If you are looking for some inspirational read in the New Year, this might be a nice addition to your shelf.

In her Introduction Gunjan Jain lists out what made her commit herself to such a huge project and how she went about putting the book together. She hopes these stories will inspire and instill a sense of social conscience. She hopes every reader will be compelled to acquire three copies of the book – one for the bedside table, one for the worktable and one to give to a friend. This dream is evidence enough to show how passionate Jain is about her book


The women selected by Jain are divided into six categories, Altruism and Other Interests, Corporate, Banking and law, Entertainment, Fashion, The Arts and Empowerment, Media, and Sports. There is a brief write up about each lady based on Jain’s interview with her and other close people in her life. This is followed by an interview with a prominent person in the life (husband, child, friend etc) of the lady mentioned.

The Good

Most of the stories are inspirational. The author has taken care to include the routine life of the ladies mentioned and hence make them seem more real to us. I like how she talks about the dressing style, family life, marriage along with the work life of the ladies, making the reader connect immediately to the person. Jain has been careful to do this in the right blend so that the personal life does not overpower the tales of their ambitious goals. Small details such as Sudha Murty mentioning that she buys a little extra milk when she has guests, make her seem like a friend in real life.

She Walks, She Leads by Gunjan Jain

The Bad

I was disappointed that the book did not give enough place to women from South and North east India. It seems to be a pity that a book that is about ‘Women who inspire India’ has fallen into the usual gimmick of sidelining prominent women from the other parts of the country. In a time period when a large population of the country still consider all South Indians as ‘Madrasis’ and some don’t accept the north east to be a part of India (I am skipping the part where the rest of the world thinks Hindi is the one and only language of India), such an unbalanced portrayal can send out a wrong message. Jain has mentioned stories of Sudha Murty, Indra Nooyi, Kiran Shaw and Mary Kom. But four ladies do not seem to be an accurate representation of the South and the North east taken together.

Also, I did wish the book was shorter, though I do admit that is a nearly impossible task if all the twenty four women have to be given their due space to tell their stories.

Final Verdict :

She Walks, She Leads is a good choice for those who like to read non-fiction, particularly biographies. This is an inspiring collection of Indian women who have achieved their dreams, yet remained deeply rooted to their femininity and culture.

Title : She Walks, She Leads
Author : Gunjan Jain
Publisher : Penguin Randomhouse India
Published : 2016
Language : English
Pages : 584
Rating : 3/5

Much thanks to the author for a copy of the book. All opinions are my own.

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She Walks, She Leads: Women Who Inspire India
This Post Has 18 Comments
  1. Sadly this geographic-itis happens with the US too – a collection of essays will be by/about/concerning a topic, but all the writers write with/from/about New York and yet this collection bills itself as “America.”

  2. I find it very inspirational to read about women who have been able to go out and achieve their goals and dreams. As Hillary Clinton recently said, ‘The future is female.’ It is a shame that the book doesn’t cover more of the country though. Sounds like they should come back and do a second volume because there are so many more stories to tell.

  3. I love the idea of this book, for sure. 24 women’s stories in 584 pages?! That’s about 24 pages a woman, fascinatingly enough. It sounds like Jain does a great job highlighting these women in a way which make them real. Does she explore their climb to where they are? Is there advice or anything like that for other women to latch on to?

    1. Yes, she talks about how they climbed to success as well as gives an overview of their personal/family life. There is no advice for other women but each story is inspiring in its own way.

  4. I’d like to read more books like this one, although I am always niggled by the kinds of things you’ve mentioned too (selection, length, fairness, etc). The only one like it which I’ve read and would recommend is Dale Spender’s Women of Ideas, which is massive but still leaves out a lot (and has its own set of gaps too, for sure, but it brought so many new names to my attention that it seems churlish to object), although I’m sure there are many newer ones too. I just borrowed Dead Feminists by Chandler O’Leary and Jessica Spring from the library and it is a work of art!

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