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Not difficult to find enough women directors: Moily

Last Updated: Sunday, August 19, 2012 - 11:49

New Delhi: There is enough talent among women and it would not be difficult for companies to find women directors to comply with the provisions of the new Companies Bill, Corporate Affairs Minister Veerappa Moily said.

The Companies Bill aims to encourage more women participation in decision-making at board level.

"The clause is very much workable. It was our proposal and the committee has approved it. There are enough talents among women and that has to be promoted," Corporate Affairs Minister Veerappa Moily said.

According to Companies Bill 2011, appointment of at least one Woman director has been proposed to be mandated in certain companies, which would be prescribed by the government.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, which had scanned the Companies Bill, in its latest report submitted in Parliament, also endorsed the proposal of the Ministry.

Welcoming the move, Naina Lal Kidwai, who heads HSBC India, said: "We certainly need more women in the talent pool for board directors -- more so as we need to go beyond the mandatory one representative. I believe it is easier if there are at least two women to be heard... We need to work at bringing this to 30 percent".

She added policies of employers towards their women executives joining other company boards need to be enabling.

However, Biocon Chairman and Managing Director Kiran Mazumdar Shaw said she did not believe in reservation and the move could be counter productive.

"...I do not subscribe to the proposed reservation for women on Boards as this could be counterproductive. The reason why the number of women directors are so few today, is because we do not have a large pool of women in leadership roles".

"I believe the more progressive companies have started focusing on gender diversity and I am confident that we will see more women being inducted on Company Boards. I do not believe that educated, professional women require affirmative action or else we will devalue the purpose of reservation," she said.

Industry body Assocham in a study titled 'Corporate Women: Close the Gender Gap and Dream Big' has noted that at present out of 1,112 directorships of 100 companies listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange, only 59 positions -- or 5.3 percent -- are held by women.

This figure compares with 15 percent in Canada, 14.5 percent in the US and 12.2 percent in Britain.

Noting that corporates will have to start training within their own organisation, to fill this position, as it becomes mandatory within a year or two, FICCI Ladies Organisation (FICCI-FLO) President Kavitha Vardaraj said the industry body was already working to create this pool.

The Companies Bill introduced in Parliament in 2009 is expected to be presented in Parliament for consideration and passage in the ongoing session.

According to sources, at least 27,000 companies will need to have women directors.


First Published: Sunday, August 19, 2012 - 11:49
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