Original Research - Special Collection: Women in Business in Africa

Sandwiched between groups: Upward career experiences of South African Indian women

Nasima M.H. Carrim
South African Journal of Business Management | Vol 52, No 1 | a2150 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajbm.v52i1.2150 | © 2021 Nasima M.H. Carrim | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 May 2020 | Published: 27 July 2021

About the author(s)

Nasima M.H. Carrim, Department of Human Resource Management, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the challenges Indian women managers face in their career ascendancy.

Design/methodology/approach: Using a qualitative approach, to gain an in-depth understanding of the intersectional issues and challenges younger and older Indian women managers face in their career progress towards senior- and top-managerial positions.

Findings/results: The results indicate that the intersection of the socio-historical-political contexts, together with racial, gender, cultural and workplace impediments, produces both different and converging outcomes for older and younger Indian women managers in their upward career mobility. Compared with their older counterparts, the career ascendancy of younger participants is more challenging, as they have to compete against a bigger pool of qualified black candidates. A research limitation is that the study did not compare the experiences of Indian women with Indian men regarding their career ascendency.

Practical implications: Practical implications include managers needing to implement targeted succession planning, eradicate sexism and patriarchy and introduce formal mentorship, coaching and networking programmes.

Originality/value: The article compares the experiences of younger and older Indian women managers in a changing political landscape. The findings of the study indicate that the experiences of women across generations differ, as their career ascendancy is dissimilar.


Indian women managers; younger women; older women; critical race theory; intersectionality; interpretivism.


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