The revised Companies Act, 2013 made it mandatory for all listed companies and other public limited firms to appoint at least one woman as a member of the Board of Directors. India became the first developing country in the world to have such a norm to empower women as well as promote diversity at the board level. This Act ensured that woman will be considered for leadership roles so that they can be groomed for being a part of the Board of Directors.
Ernst and Young reported that the female representation on boards in the NIFTY 500 companies has increased from 5% in 2012 to 13% in 2017. That is a whopping increase of almost 300% which is a lot for a patriarchal society like India. It has certainly put India on the road map to giving women equal rights and responsibilities in the corporate world.
According to PrimeDatabase, as of January 2018, out of 1723 NSE listed companies, 1667 companies had met the mandate of having at least one woman director in the boards. Of this, about 425 companies have appointed the women from the promoter group or family members. Data showed that 285 companies had more than one woman on board while 56 companies did not have any women directors.
Women in India have been fighting for equal rights since forever. They struggle to meet even their basic needs of education and food due to the social stigma attached to a woman from the time she takes birth. However, the country is slowly but surely moving towards developing an equal society.
The mandate of having a woman director on the board could start a trend wherein people would see that woman are capable enough to take up leadership. It will alter the mindset of the people in the country who still live in ancient times and associate women in India with household chores.
In order to achieve this equality in the country, the companies need to conform to this law and ensure that they don’t just tick the box of having a woman director in their boards but also give them equal opportunities to contribute positively at board meetings. By doing this, the companies are not only meeting the law and bringing diversity in their boards but are also bringing about a long overdue social change in one of the fastest growing counties in the world.
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The CSR Journal Team