According to the amended Companies Act, listed companies in India should have at least one woman on their board. However, Indian firms rank poorly among Asia-Pacific peers in women’s presence on company boards.
According to the New Global 2014 Catalyst Census: Women Board Directors, women’s share of board seats ranges from 3.1 per cent in Japan (TOPIX Core 30 index) to 9.5 per cent in India (BSE 200 index) to 19.2 per cent in Australia (S&P/ASX 200 index).
Created in partnership with The Data Morphosis Group, the new and expanded Census focuses on women’s share of board seats in stock market index companies across three regions and 20 countries, including the US, Canada, Europe (14 countries) and Asia-Pacific (Australia, Hong Kong, India and Japan).
In Europe, women’s share of board seats ranges from 7.9 per cent in Portugal (PSI-20 index) to 18.5 per cent in Germany (DAX index) to 22.8 per cent in the UK (FTSE 100 index) to 35.5 per cent in Norway (OBX index).
“We have evidence and optimism that closing the gender gap on corporate boards is possible, yet the current numbers are simply not good enough. Smart leaders know they can either lead the movement toward making profound and lasting impact, or be left behind. The way of the past is not the way of the future,” said Deborah Gillis, president and CEO, Catalyst.
According to Catalyst, a non-profit organisation dedicated to advancing women and business, diverse boards strengthen a company’s talent pipeline. It says such boards require more women managers, increased financial performance, more innovation, and higher group performance.
According to another report by Catalyst —Companies Behaving Responsibly: Gender Diversity on Boards — there is a clear link between diversity and corporate social responsibility.
Catalyst sees more leaders stepping up and successfully taking intentional action to disrupt the status-quo and ensure that women have a seat at the table.