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Around 51 of the top 500 companies listed on the National Stock Exchange (NSE), haven’t appointed a woman independent director as of April 6, 2019. This is a key requirement put forward by the Securities And Exchange Board Of India (SEBI) to achieve gender diversity in the corporate world.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • SEBI in its board meeting on March 28, 2018 decided that the top 500 listed entities by market capitalisation should have at least one female independent director, on or before April 1, 2019.
  • This is a move by SEBI to promote gender parity in the Indian Companies.
  • Eventually, 42 of the top 500 companies appointed an independent woman director only in the last week of March, i.e., 25 March- 1 April, in spite of having close to a year’s time for the same.
  • They will be put to test in 2020 again. Since SEBI, in the same meeting had also asked the top 1000 listed entities by market capitalisation to appoint an independent female director.

SEBI in its board meeting on March 28, 2018 decided that the top 500 listed entities by market capitalisation should have at least one female independent director, on or before April 1, 2019. This is a move by SEBI to promote gender parity in the Indian Companies. But a reality check shows a different picture. As per the data compiled by Prime Database Group, India’s leading provider of data on capital market, 51 companies including HDFC Asset Management, InterGlobe Aviation, Indian Oil Corporation, Jindal Steel and Power, and SUN TV Network have failed to comply with the rules set by SEBI. These five of 51 companies belong to the top 100 entities enlisted by market capitalisation by NSE.

Reluctance To Appoint A Female Director Even After One Year Of Time

Eventually, 42 of the top 500 companies appointed an independent woman director only in the last week of March, i.e., 25 March- 1 April, in spite of having close to a year’s time for the same.

We asked Shalini Kamath, founder and CEO, SK & Associates as to why she thinks companies failed to appoint a female director even after having one year of time after SEBI’s directive? She says, “There is always a lag from legislation change to on ground change to mindset change. The lag period could take years and decades and that’s what we are witnessing. Having said that, despite the slow pace the trend is in the right direction. I am hopeful, these companies will course correct too!”

Since most of the companies have appointed only in the last-minute, this directs us towards the dismal position of our corporate world. The move was made by SEBI to increase gender parity in the top organisations, but it seems to have become more of a compulsion than a positive effort. Plus, the 51 top companies, who failed to comply also indicates how gender bias has crept deep inside the corporate corridors, and we are not even considering companies listed lower on the list. Since SEBI, in the same meeting had also asked the top 1,000 listed entities by market capitalisation to appoint an independent female director.

Two things are essential – the boards have to make themselves attractive for women to find value in being part of them and the companies need to dig into the larger pool rather than chase the same few names. The companies need to make the shift from recognised names to skill-sets and value-add from board members.

Doesn’t This Indicate Lower Percentage Of Women At Leadership Positions?

“While this is true that the percentage of women is low in leadership positions, however, there are enough qualified, experienced, senior women in corporate India to sit on the boards of the companies. Two things are essential – the boards have to make themselves attractive for women to find value in being part of them and the companies need to dig into the larger pool rather than chase the same few names. The companies need to make the shift from recognised names to skill-sets and value-add from board members.” adds Shalini Kamath.

Read More:Undervalued Leadership Traits In Women We Must Acknowledge

Anushika Srivastava is an Intern with SheThePeople.Tv

Email us at connect@shethepeople.tv