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Proportion of Indian women in senior rank below global average

March 07, 2014 18:46 IST

Proportion of Indian women in senior rank below global average

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The representation of Indian women in senior company positions remains a cause of concern at 14 per cent, below the global average, a report says.

On the eve of International Women's Day, the report by Grant Thornton shows that even after an upsurge of debates and measures to promote gender equity in the workplace, the proportion of Indian women in senior positions remains low.

Globally, the average is 24 per cent, according to the survey conducted from November 2013 to February 2014.

That's the same level as in 2013, 2009 and 2007, and higher than 19 per cent recorded 10 years ago.

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Regionally, there's been very little significant change over the past decade with Eastern Europe (37 per cent), Southeast Asia (35 per cent) and China (38 per cent) leading the way.

The survey found growing support for regulation to get women on to boards and facilitate their career paths.

"The provisions of the new Act (Companies Act), dictating certain sets of companies to mandatorily appoint a woman director to their boards, represent a promising progress for talented Indian women to break the glass ceiling," Grant Thornton Advisory Director Pallavi J Bakhru said.

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In addition to the legislative approach, businesses are implementing various measures that could make a difference.

The survey shows a majority of Indian companies are offering paid maternity leave (65 per cent) and flexible working hours (59 per cent) to create a path for women to fill more senior roles and gain a firm footing in the workplace.

"Considering that at times, family takes precedence over career for most Indian women, the investment in enabling initiatives from the organisations need to be revisited," Grant Thornton Advisory Senior Director Nidhi Maheshwari said, adding that companies should take up more gender diversity programmes capable of delivering concrete results.

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The report said in an average year, 13 per cent of the graduates that Indian businesses hire are women, while the corresponding global figure is 21 per cent.

"This calls for a need for India Inc to unpack the current male bias around hiring and promotion that is the key to increasing diversity," Grant Thornton said.

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