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Sudha Murthy: How a Small Town Girl Shattered the Glass Ceiling With Her Self-Belief

As an engineer, Sudha Murthy wrote a letter to JRD Tata that changed TELCO’s employment policy. Little did she know then that she would make history, and become an icon for millions of Indians.

Sudha Murthy: How a Small Town Girl Shattered the Glass Ceiling With Her Self-Belief

An award-winning author, chairperson of Infosys Foundation and a social worker, Sudha Murthy is a name recognised by many in India. 

A recent Padma Bhushan awardee, Sudha Murthy has become a leading inspiration for women around the world. But do you know the struggle and sexism she faced back in the day to reach where she is today? 

Here is her inspirational story- 

Nearly half a century ago, when Murthy was a young graduate fresh out of college, she started to look for jobs. Looking for suitable jobs, she came across an ad for a job in the Tata Group which read – ‘Lady candidates need not apply.’

This angered her and she wrote a letter addressing it directly to JRD Tata, who was the head of the Tata group. She wrote, “The great Tatas have always been pioneers. They are the people who started the basic infrastructure industries in India, such as iron and steel, chemicals, textiles and locomotives. They have cared for higher education in India since 1900 and they were responsible for the establishment of the Indian Institute of Science. Fortunately, I study there. But I am surprised how a company such as Telco is discriminating based on gender.”

Ten days later, she got a telegram asking her to interview for a job in the company’s Pune facility. This trip to Pune and the interview changed the course of her life and she became the first woman engineer to work at Telco. 

The rest is history, Murthy went on to break the glass ceiling for women over and over again. From being a best-selling author, chairperson of Infosys to winning a national award, she says, “I have always believed in working hard and having faith in myself.”

(Edited by Padmashree Pande)

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