Infrastructural companies struggle to find female directors

It is a known fact that at the beginning of their careers, women are considered just as competent as their male colleagues but as they climb up the ladder, they are mostly sidelined. This is the reason that we usually see men at the top positions in most organizations.


To discourage this practice, Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI), made it mandatory for all listed companies to have at least one woman director. Because most companies were unable to comply with this, the deadline for the same was extended till 1st April, 2015. However, many infrastructure companies like Larsen & Toubro, are still hunting for a woman director.


“There is a dearth of senior lady employees in the infrastructure sector. Talent development in an engineering and construction company often begins with roles at remote construction sites, but it isn’t easy to find female employees able to accept such roles. On the other hand, there are large numbers of lady employees in our engineering-design centres, and are valuable assets in such roles,” said R Shankar Raman, chief financial officer, Larsen&Toubro; reported Economic Times .

Due to the nature of the work, infrastructure companies do not have many female employees and so it is more difficult for them to appoint them as directors on the board. A few companies however, like L&T, Adani Power, Adani Ports, Simplex Infrastructure, have been successful in complying with the regulation.


[Picture Courtesy: The Indian Express]


The Economic Times  reported that India’s largest private company Reliance Industries was the  first company to appoint a woman director, Nita Ambani, wife of chairman Mukesh Ambani, earlier this year.


K Sudarshan, managing director, EMA Partners International, an executive search firm said, “There’s a lack of women in leadership positions in core sectors as well as in manufacturing. Right now, companies are looking for women directors only to meet regulatory requirements and this does notchange the trendbut it isamovein the right direction.”