‘Fewer women at top due to glass ceiling’
New Delhi: Although more and more women are joining the workforce in India, a glass ceiling is keeping them away from top positions, women entrepreneurs feel.
Participating in a panel discussion organized at the American Center here, they said even in professions where there are more women, their presence at the top is rather minimal.
"There are more women in the service industry than manufacturing, there are a lot of women in HR (human resource management), but all heads are men. There is a glass ceiling," said Shaily Gupta, group head of human resources, Edelweiss Financial Services Limited.
Agreeing with her, Kuku Singh, director of Tatva Leadership and Management Services, said: "After a level, the number of women goes down".
According to a recent survey by global management consultancy McKinsey & Company, 50 percent of graduates in Asia are women, but on an average, women account for 6 percent of seats on corporate boards, and 8 percent of those on executive committees.
In India, the female labour participation rate is 35 percent, one of the lowest in the world.
The women business leaders, however, said that reservation for women in jobs cannot possibly solve the problem.
"Quota system will not work," said Kanika Mathur, president of Digitas Pvt. Ltd., a digital marketing enterprise.
"Quota will bring down meritocracy. We should rather focus on spreading awareness and education," added Gupta.
Renuka Ramnath, chief executive of investment firm Multiple Equity, said a system to positively address the problems of female employees would help in the long run to get more women in decision-making roles.
"There can be more positive ways to listen to the problem of women employees. In the long run, it will get adjusted with the market forces and help getting better quality," said Ramnath.
US Ambassador Nancy J. Powell said more and more women wanted to take the leadership role.
"It is the desire of most women to get the skill to take leadership in this male-dominated world," Powell said, addressing the gathering.
She said women should "learn from one another and help one another".