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India ranked 30th for women presence on companies' boards

Last updated on: March 5, 2012 17:55 IST

Women account for over 30 per cent of total workforce of India Inc, but their presence is very low at less than 7 per cent when it comes to the board-level positions at the Indian companies, a survey has found.

Although better than a few major countries like Japan and Italy, India is ranked at 30th place in terms of the presence of women directors at the companies' boards, as per the survey conducted by

The survey was conducted at more than 1,400 companies in India and it found that the women constituted for just 6.69 per cent of the total number of board members in 2012.

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India ranked 30th for women presence on companies' boards

However, this marks an improvement from last year when women accounted for 5.26 per cent of the total board seats.

The female presence on company boards is highest in Norway (37 per cent), followed by Sweden (26.32 per cent), Finland (23.56 per cent), the US (16.34 per cent) and South Africa (16.19 per cent).

The countries having lower women representation on company boards include Italy (4.23 per cent) and Japan (1.23 per cent), the report said.


India ranked 30th for women presence on companies' boards

The number of companies surveyed were different in different countries. "Indian Inc needed to do more to promote women into senior corporate roles," CEO Rajesh Kumar said.

"While more than 30 per cent of team strength in Indian Inc is female, among these only 15 per cent are on senior executive roles. Business needed to see the promotion of women into senior ranks as something that would benefit them in a time of skill shortages," he added.

On a positive note, Kumar said that "when it comes to closing the gender gap among top leadership posts in India Inc, women started getting significant gains in 2011.


India ranked 30th for women presence on companies' boards

"In 2011, women held 21.1 per cent of executive positions at Fortune 500 companies and 9 per cent of executive positions in others," he added.

Two of the biggest private sector banks, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank, have female chiefs, with Chanda Kochhar and Shikha Sharma, respectively, as their CEOs.

Besides, other women directors on Indian firms include Sminu Jindal of Jindal Saw Ltd, Reliance Infrastructure's Leena Srivastava, Radha Singh of Yes Bank, Renu Sud Karnad of HDFC Ltd and  Vinita Gupta of Lupin.


India ranked 30th for women presence on companies' boards

"Indian industries are continuously on growing mode, but if we talk about gender variation we are no where standing in compare to world," Abhibhyaki Resources Director Ajay Anand said.

"Major reason behind this is our 15-20 years old strategy and mentality, because to reach on CXO level at least you required well experienced person who can handle the company or entire group," he added.

"Now current scenario has totally changed, on mid level positions you'll able to find almost 30-35 per cent female employees. It's sure after few years women's are going to participate on this level equal to male members," he said.


India ranked 30th for women presence on companies' boards

The scenario is not much better in some developed countries as well, with Canada reporting only 11 per cent women directors, Ireland (10.76 per cent), Spain (10.05 per cent) New Zealand (9.43 per cent) and Switzerland (8.56 per cent).

The countries with extremely low percentage of women on board include Saudi Arabia (0.23 per cent), Qatar(0.65 per cent) and UAE (0.99 per cent).

"To participate more on these senior level positions women's are needed to change their mentality also. They have to come out from their traditional functional area of interest like HR, sales, marketing, business development and other revenue generating functions for company," Anand said.

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