Women Representation On Indian Boards Up By 18%: Report 


Women’s representation in India Inc boardrooms has improved in recent times. According to a recent report, women now hold 18% of board seats in India, up from 13% in 2017 and 6% in 2013. Almost 95% of Nifty 500 companies have at least one female board member compared to 69% in 2017. 

Part of the credit for this improvement goes to multiple initiatives taken by the Indian government and regulatory bodies. Yet, there’s much to be done. For instance, the share of women in non-executive positions on Indian boards is much higher than that of women in executive positions and their growth is much faster – improving to 21.4% in 2022 from 16% in 2017 against the progress of those in executive positions to 7.2% from 6% during the same period. This indicates that there is a need to strengthen gender diversity in corporates’ senior echelons, experts said.

“Both aspects – increasing the representation of executive and non-executive women directors – need to be constantly worked on,” said Arun Duggal, chairman of rating agency ICRA. “We need to move to a minimum of two women directors on the board.”

He said companies need to work towards getting more women in senior management and top leadership, which will be fertile ground for women at the board level. “More effort needs to be put into greater diversity in the corporate sector,” Duggal said.

There is also divergence in gender diversity on boards across different industries. For instance,  Life sciences – where the share of women directors rose to 24% in 2022 from 16% in 2017 – media and entertainment (23% in 2022 against 14% in 2017), consumer products and retail (20% in 2022 against 14% in 2017) and technology (20% in 2022 against 15% in 2017) have seen women’s representation on boards go up significantly in the last five years.

But, in sectors such as energy and utilities, and banking and capital markets, the needle has not moved at all, remaining stagnant at 15% and 14%, respectively. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has slowed down the pace of growth and much more ground has to be covered to ensure gender parity in workplaces. Covid-19 also impacted the progress in gender equality on company boards for a variety of factors including a defocus on the agenda amid a struggle to deal with the challenges of the pandemic. Experts said a diverse board is the need of the hour.

Credits: Economic Times

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