From Home-Maker to Change-Maker: How women are driving growth in China, India and Indonesia

Kunal Sinha

It is a telling TV commercial from a powerhouse local Indian brand of laundry powder. Four women in beautiful, clean clothes are walking on a street when they spot an ambulance stuck in the mud. A crowd has gathered – mostly men who watch passively, nonchalantly film the incident on their phones, reluctant to help lest they get their clothes dirty.

Determination writ on their faces, the four women jump into the slush, push the ambulance onto solid ground, and walk off triumphant – aware that the grime on their clothes can be easily removed by washing them in Nirma washing powder.

It reflects a remarkable shift in the portrayal of women by brands: from toiling home-makers whose prime responsibility is imagined as ensuring clean clothes for her husband or her children so that they can shine, to one of confident change-makers, active and powerful in the face of male diffidence.

The size of the prize