India Needs To Catch Up In Gender Diversity On Boards

According to an Egon Zehnder report for 2016, India lags behind countries like China and Hong Kong when it comes to gender diversity on company boards.

The number of women who were appointed to boards was only 11 per cent of the total hires. The report also highlights that women directors do not have management responsibilities and suggests that they are appointed only as a token minority.

In 2016, only nine women were executive directors compared to 124 male executive directors. Women non-executive directors were 46 against 272 male non-executive directors.

Pallavi Kathuria, co-leader of diversity and inclusion practice at EZ, said, “Despite social and economic progress in other areas of the business world, diversity at the leadership level, particularly in the boardroom, has not kept pace,” as reported by TOI.

However, India is better than China and Hong Kong in the number of female CEOs. In India, for every 36 male CEOs, there are 4 women CEOs, ie. 11.1 per cent. In China, this number is only 4.7 per cent. The number of CFOs in India who are women, is not as high. Only 5.1 per cent of CFOs are women, as compared to China where 30.6 per cent of CFOs are women. The report was made exclusive to The Times of India.

The Securities and Exchange Board has made it mandatory for all listed companies to appoint at least one woman director on their board.

A recent Grant Thornton study showed that companies with diverse boards have a higher return on assets than male-only boards.

Also Read: India reduces the gender gap in the boardroom