Rohit Joshi/Ankita Chakrabarty/ZRG
Recently, Cabinet has cleared the long pending Companies Bill, 2011, which seeks to reduce gender disparity by laying down quotas for women on boards of companies. The clause 149 of the Companies Bill, 2011, prescribes that certain categories of companies shall have atleast one woman director on their boards. (http://www.mca.gov.in/Ministry/pdf/The_Companies_Bill_2011.pdf)
While whole India is talking about women empowerment, women remain grossly under-represented at the top of the corporate ladder. Not only at the boardrooms, the similar scenario can be seen at the Indian Parliament where in 2011, just 11 percent of seats were held by women as against the average of nearly 19 percent.
A Zee Research Group (ZRG) has selected emerging nations (represented by Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Russia, South Africa, Hungary etc.) along with developed nations like the European Union, US and Japan. Except Brazil, Hungary and Japan, the proportion of women in National Parliament is minimum at 11 percent in case of India among the selected countries. On the other hand, South Africa has the maximum women strength of 45 percent followed by Mexico (26 percent), European Union (24 percent), China (21 percent), and North America (20 percent).
On the similar lines, in November 2011, Deloitte released a report which threw light on a topic which had a title ‘Women in the boardroom: A Global Perspective’. This report revealed that out of 1,112 directorships of 100 companies listed on Bombay Stock Exchange, only 59 positions or 5.3 percent were held by women. However, comparing the same with the global scenario, in UK, women serving on FTSE 100 company boards were 12.5 percent. Also, in France, 12.7 percent of women were found serving on sample of 101 listed companies. Even India’s biggest competitor, China had more women in the boardroom. The figure of China stood at 8.5 percent on a sample of 97 listed companies. This data very clearly depicts that India, comparatively, has significantly a very low percent of women representation on boards.(http://www.deloitte.com/assets/Dcom-Tanzania/Local%20Assets/Documents/De...)
Accepting the stated facts, Swati Piramal at Piramal Enterprises, averred, “I think it is a reflection of our whole society. The 11 percent strength of women in Indian Parliament is lower than the figures prevailing in countries like US and Europe. So, when women are not fairly represented in the Indian parliament, then I think that the scenario won’t be different at India Inc boardrooms.”