Chinese cos have more women directors than Indian firms

Chinese cos have more women directors than Indian firms

When it comes to gender diversity in board rooms, Indian corporates have lesser number of women directors compared to their Chinese peers, while European nations lead the pack, says a report.

Consultancy major Deloitte Global said that women hold about 12 per cent of board seats worldwide while only 4 per cent of them are at the helm of boards.

It noted that many Indian companies have started appointing women directors to their boards, at executive as well as non executive positions. The findings are part of the report titled 'Women in the Boardroom: A Global Perspective' released earlier this week. It is based on a data of nearly 6,000 companies spread across 40 countries, including India.

In terms of percentage of board seats held by women, India's score stood at 7.7 per cent while that of China was at 8.5 per cent. The US had a score of 12.2 per cent and that of Germany was 18.3 per cent.

The highest percentage of women directors were in Norway (36.7 per cent), followed by France (29.9 per cent), Sweden (24.4 per cent), Italy (22.3 per cent) and Finland (22.1 per cent).
However, Japan (2.4 per cent), Brazil (6.3 per cent), Russia (5.7 per cent), Republic of Korea (1.7 per cent) and Indonesia (3.7 per cent) are placed below India.

The report said that at 6 per cent, gender diversity in some of Asia's leading economies is the lowest compared to other parts of the world. "Many Indian companies have started to introduce women directors to their boards. Currently 8 per cent of board seats are held by women and 3 per cent of boards chairs are women," it said.

Under the Companies Act, 2013, certain class of companies are required to have at least one woman director on their boards, and Securities and Exchange Board of India has also aligned its provisions to the new law for listed entities.

"Today, with the new requirements in place, many companies have started appointing women directors to their boards -— both in executive and non executive/independent directorship positions.

"However, a sizeable proportion of the new appointments to date have come from the promoter group (a founding or controlling owner, often a family) or from within the family, or in executive positions, instead of non-executive or independent director candidates, the report said.

Even before the Companies Act, 2013, came into force, some companies, including family-owned ones, had women directors serving on their boards, it added. Most provisions of the Act came into effect from April 1, 2014.

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