Women needed in Boardrooms of India Inc

Despite acknowledging poor representation of women in boardrooms, India Inc cover up by saying that numbers alone do not ensure a woman friendly corporate culture, says a report in One World.

Six Indian companies marked this International Women’s Day (IWD) by pledging their commitment to the Global Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), an initiative to strengthen women’s participation in corporate India.

Even as the corporate leaders accepted the low participation of women in the boardrooms of Indian companies, most of the speakers said that mere numbers are not an indicator of the women friendly environment in the corporate sector.

While over 500 companies have signed on to the WEPs across the world, in India, only six of an estimated nine lakh-registered companies have committed to the WEP principles.

Speaking at the launch of a joint initiative by UN Women, CARE India and the Global Compact Network to strengthen women’s participation in the corporate sector, Pooran Chandra Pandey, Executive Director, UN Global Compact Network India, said that the WEP initiative was aimed at starting a dialogue for ensuring the inclusion of women’s talents and skills.

Pandey said peer pressure was an important factor to encourage companies towards women empowerment. “By interacting with the six Indian companies supporting the WEPs, we hope to inspire other corporate and public sector companies to join our initiative,” he said.

Srimathi Shivashankar, Associate Vice President, Diversity & Sustainability, HCL Technologies, urged the corporate world to have zero tolerance for violence against women at the workplace and beyond.

Highlighting the significance of gender balance, Shivashankar said that if the companies lose out on recruiting women available in the marketplace it is a loss for them. “According to one study, women-led teams are much more productive than the men-led teams. If we don’t have a gender balance, we will not have conflict of ideas, which is crucial for innovation,” she said.

Dr Muhammad Musa, CEO and Country Director, CARE India, said the strategic partnership for promoting the WEPs is crucial as no single entity can bring a change in the situation of women. A partnership like this creates a platform of diversity with engagement of other actors from the civil society, he said.

Deepak Jolly, Vice President, Public Affairs and Communication, Coca-Cola India, said that by 2020, the firm will take the leadership role of women to 50 per cent.


“Women play an important role in enhancing Coca-Cola’s value chain.  The ‘5 by 20’ campaign provides women with business skills, access to finance and know-how of setting up viable businesses, from fruit farmers to retailers,” he said.


Sunita Cherian, Vice President, Human Resources and Head of Gender Diversity, Wipro, while disclosing that they have no woman directors in the board said that the culture and the working conditions of a firm and not matrix ensure better participation of women.


Cherian said there was a need for policies which help in removing the existing barriers lying in the path of women development. “In the context of gender inclusion, this means fostering a zero bias environment, while nurturing growth,” she said.


Cherian said Wipro’s culture emphasises merit and fairness. “The idea is to build confidence in women executives by focussing on meaningful, long-term careers while also excelling in their social and familial responsibilities. I have been in Wipro for 17 years. The only reason I stuck on at Wipro is because of the culture in the organisation and nothing else,” she said.


Sushma Kapoor, Deputy Representative and OIC, UN Women Office for India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka, said that the private sector in India has acknowledged that empowering women is not only the right thing to do but is also essential for building strong economies.


Richard Lobo, Head of Employee Relations at Infosys, said that his firm, in 2003 took the initiative of setting up of Infosys Women Inclusivity Network, to address specific needs for development, engagement, growth and retention of women. “Today we are proud to say women represent 34 per cent of our total workforce,” he said.

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Posted by on March 9, 2013. Filed under Breaking News,Industry,WORLD NEWS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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