With the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) making it mandatory for every listed company to have a minimum of one woman director on its board, almost a thousand companies have to find one by the October 1 deadline. Indian Express reports, that many of the biggest companies such as Reliance, Larson & Toubro, amongst others in India; still do not have a woman director.


Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, one of the richest and most influential women in the country today, told the Indian Express that because there is such a small number of successful women to choose from, the same names are always being head-hunted. Shaw has recently been appointed as an independent board member at Infosys and as a chairperson of the board of governors at IIM Bangalore. The founder and Chairperson of Biocon, is also an honorary consul general of Ireland and the head of BPAC.


[Picture Courtesy: The Week]


Arun Duggal, the Chairman of Shriram Capital, a mentorship programme that aims to get high potential women executives on to boards, reveals that out of the top 500 companies on the Mumbai Stock Exchange, around 300 do not have a woman on their boards. He adds that since Sebi has not conditioned for these women on boards to be independent members, the policy may not really be beneficial for aspiring women and said, “Promoters will start putting their daughters and nieces on their boards.”


Saritha Rai believes that this might turn out to be like women’s position in most Indian political parties where even though they hold potentially influential positions, they are almost always non-functional. Supporting women’s stand in this, Shaw says, “It’s all still an old boys’ club.  It’s time women broke into this male bastion!”