Female executives a rarity in India
NEW DELHI — When corporate headhunter Uday Chawla meets with his peers these days, the talk is mostly about finding women — and the competition is fierce.
That, he says, is because Indian companies are frantically scrambling to meet a new legal requirement that they have at least one woman on their boards by October, and the shortage of qualified women is staggering.
Everybody has a secret list of senior female professionals in other companies and retired female bureaucrats whom they are wooing, said Chawla, the managing partner in the executive search firm Transearch India.
“The general chatter is, ‘How many women's names do you have on your list?' and, ‘So-and-so is already taken,' ” he said. “There is a lot of pressure now because of the deadline.”
India passed a law last year aimed at modernizing its corporations and making them socially responsible. Having a diverse board of directors is a key element of the law, reflecting a significant shift in attitudes toward working women that coincides with a wave of unprecedented anger over the perceived lack of public safety.
The move to raise women's corporate profile also signals a push by Indian businesses to adopt practices well established in the West. In the past two decades, more and more international companies have come here, and Indian companies, particularly in the IT industry, have expanded globally. For corporate boards, diversity and independence are the new buzzwords.
About two-thirds of publicly traded Indian companies — 922 of 1,462 — do not have a single woman on their boards, according to a joint survey conducted this year by the National Stock Exchange and Prime Database, a capital market data firm. Many are the country's blue-chip firms.
For too long, Chawla said, corporate boardrooms in India have operated like “old boys' networks.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Antarctica yields life in extremest of conditions, so what about on another planet?
- Shiia militias in Iraq say they have assurances U.S. will stop strikes
- Alone at controls, Germanwings co-pilot sought to ‘destroy’ the plane
- Co-pilot in Germanwings Alps crash treated for suicidal tendencies
- Iran blames U.S. drone for killing military advisers in Iraq
- Airstrikes intensify in Yemen as Egypt, Saudis consider ground forces
- Airstrike hits aid camp for displaced in Yemen, kills dozens
- Pakistan to deploy armed drones
- Plane crash kills 150 people in French Alps
- Terrorists strike Libya officials in retaliation
- Afghan president vows self-reliance for nation