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Why are so few women checking into India Inc’s C-suite?, ETHRWorld

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<p>There’s a need to build a pipeline and create policies to retain meritorious women.<br /></p>
There’s a need to build a pipeline and create policies to retain meritorious women.

Mumbai: At a time when major Indian companies are driving gender diversity as being good for business, the numbers show a yawning gap across corporate India, with the presence of women leaders at an abysmally low level in the C-suite.

A mere 4% of executive directors — roles at the level of MD, CEO, CFO, finance director and similar — or six out of 146 are women in the Nifty 50 companies, according to an analysis for ET by Primeinfobase.

Broadening the canvas and going beyond the Nifty 50, representation drops even lower — 161 out of 5,134 EDs or just about 3% across 2,265 NSE-listed companies.

CEOs and directors attribute this to multiple factors: Lack of enabling policies to retain highpotential women in the workforce as well as conscious and unconscious biases that persist.

“There is still a long way to go between voiced intent and effective action to bring about a significant and enduring change in terms of having more women leaders in decision-making C-suite roles,” said Vinita Bali, former MD of Britannia and an independent director on several global and Indian boards. “Companies and boards that govern them have to move faster, take bold decisions and put their money where their mouth is.”

Companies need to address the issue of attrition and many women leaving mid-career and during key life stages.

“They need to improvise…

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