Paradox of Gender and Leadership in India: A Critical Review of Mardaani

Jawad Syed, Memoona Tariq

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The paper sheds light on the paradoxical and dynamic nature of gender and leadership in India through a critical review of Indian film ‘Mardaani’.

The paper offers a critical review of an Indian film and relates the analysis to the context of gender and leadership in India.

The review shows that masculine stereotypes of leadership are simultaneously reinforced and shattered in the Indian context, and that despite all the odds, women’s role in organisations is characterised of dynamism and change. The paper situates this review in the broader context of gender, employment and leadership in India and offers a critical analysis.

Research limitations/implications:
The analysis has two implications. Firstly, it indicates that women are equally capable of demonstrating worthy leadership. Secondly, it highlights that being a leader, or ‘mannish’, in the workplace does not mean that women are not responsible for the domestic and caring duties at home. In fact, female leaders in India continue to do the double-shift by struggling to balance their roles in the workplace and their personal lives.

The paper offers an original analysis of a Bollywood film in the context of gender, culture and leadership.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSouth Asian Journal of Business Studies
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


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