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Women representation on Indian boards increased to 18 pc in 2022: Report

France topped the chart with 44.5 per cent women representation


The representation of women on boards of companies in India during the last decade rose to 18 per cent in 2022 but the country is far behind France, Sweden, the US and the UK, according to a report.

During 2013 till 2022, India made significant and rapid progress in increasing women representation on boards from 6 per cent in 2013 to 18 per cent in 2022, leading consultancy EY's report titled 'Diversity in the Boardroom: progress and the way forward' said.

France topped the chart with 44.5 per cent women representation on companies' boards followed by Sweden (40 per cent), Norway (36.4 per cent), Canada (35.4 per cent), the UK (35.3 per cent), Australia (33.5 per cent), US (28.1 per cent), Singapore (20.1 per cent), as per the report.

The findings for India are based on an analysis of Nifty 500 companies consisting of 4,500 directors and public source data.

The report noted that the current 18 per cent women representation on Indian boards is essentially a result of the corporate law mandate in the country.

Nearly 95 per cent of the Nifty 500 companies now have a woman on their boards of directors. However, less than 5 per cent of companies have women chairpersons, it noted.

While organisations have shown serious intent towards increasing board diversity, the pace of progress is certainly not up to the mark, the report said, adding that regulatory interventions have been the cornerstone of increased women participation globally and also on the Indian boards.

Historically, the report said the only positions available to women on the Indian boards were leadership in the grievance and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) committees.

However, this is starting to change, and gender diversity on boards is increasing in Indian businesses, it added.

"Women's participation in the boardroom is a necessary but often overlooked step in achieving gender parity. Increasing women's representation on boards can improve company performance and also helps to promote greater inclusion and diversity within the workforce," EY India India Region Diversity and Inclusiveness Business Sponsor Aashish Kasad said.

As per the report, at 24 per cent, the life sciences sector leads with the highest percentage of women on boards followed by media and entertainment 23 per cent.

However, the report found that the increase is not uniform across companies in the media and entertainment sector as the rise is mainly due to a few organisations exceeding the mandated quota and hiring more women directors.

Closely followed by the media and entertainment sector is the consumer products and retail sector with 20 per cent women on the boards.

The technology (IT and ITeS) industry, which has one of the highest representation of women in the workforce at 34 per cent, has 20 per cent women representation on their boards, the report said.

It also said presently, women account for only 6 per cent of executive positions on banking and capital markets boards.

Women's representation on the boards of energy and utilities sector (oil and gas and power and utilities) companies is also stagnant at 15 per cent in 2017 and 2022, it said.

According to the report, women's participation in the Indian energy sector is a mere 8 per cent, with only 600 women in managerial and executive roles.

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