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  • fatasstic
  • She Says

Women on Boards: Where India Ranks

  • IWB Post
  •  March 19, 2015


When Germany passed a law few weeks ago requiring public companies to give 30% of board seats to women, it highlighted the slow progress of other countries in that regard.

Europe has increased the share of women on boards — and the discovery that the quality of female directors has not decreased as a result. In Britain, which does not have quotas, 23% of directors in the biggest stock index are women. In the US last year, women’s share of board seats climbed two percentage points after being stagnant the previous two years.

But look at Indian women’s share of board seats. It’s a mere 10%, the 3rd lowest. This is a clear sign how far we have to go in order to make our workplaces women-friendly. Gender-equality is still a dream for many of us. Till last year, only five companies were headed by women CEOs. Of these, only ICICI Bank, which is headed by MD & CEO, Chanda Kochhar, has shown a positive difference on return on equity.

Moorthy K Uppaluri, CEO, Randstad India & Sri Lanka, said – “The responsibilities held by boards of director today are very different from what they were a few years ago. And, diversity at the corporate board levels helps to look at issues and decision making from different perspectives. Also, there are discernible benefits to having gender diversity at the corporate board levels.”

Industry-wise data suggests that information communication technology and consumer goods sector has the highest representation of women in their boards with 13.27% and 13.08%, respectively. The lowest representation of women has been found in the energy and infrastructure sector with 5.36%. (Data-TOI)

So what are the reasons behind having low women on boards?

Chanda Kochhar answers – “This is the culmination of a social process which saw women starting to take up careers about 30 years ago. It takes time to build a career. Secondly, women continue to be under-represented in the workforce. You have only about 20 women for every 100 qualified job applicants. Further, many women drop out of the workforce after a few years.”

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