Women comprise just 5.3 per cent of the boards of India’s top companies listed in the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE-100), which is far less than Canada (15 per cent), United States (14.5 per cent) and United Kingdom (12.2 per cent), Hong Kong (8.9 per cent) and Australia (8.3 per cent) says a report released by Standard Chartered Bank in association with Community Business and UK-based Cranfield School of Management.
The report titled ‘Women on Corporate Boards in India 2010’ says that out of total of 1,112 directorships on BSE-100 companies, women hold 59 directorships. The directorships are held by 48 different women.
“This research is critical not only in raising the awareness of the need to increase women’s advancement to the board level, but also in creating a debate which will encourage more discussion and thought around this topic,” said Jaspal Bindra, group executive director and CEO, Asia, Standard Chartered.
At the top of the list is JSW Steel, which has three women on its board of 13, while Oracle Financial Services Software is second with two women on its board of nine and Piramal Healthcare is third with two female directors. In fourth place is Axis Bank with two of its 11 board members being female, while Lupin and Titan share fifth rank with two women out of 12.
“Of the 18 female directors interviewed, majority of women felt that companies on the BSE-100 do not think about the gender diversity of their boards,” said Aparna Banerji, co-author of the report.
She said the most commonly cited reasons for low representation related to women’s primary role of looking after the family and many fall off the corporate ladder mid-career because of guilt about neglecting their family.