• Why we need more women at the top of the Corporate ladder

    First a heartening fact. India’s percentage of women leading banks from the executive level is much higher than the global average. Which means women are definitely making it to the top of the executive ladder.  But at the same time, we have only 7% women in boardrooms of the corporate world. Ever wondered why that is the scenario? Why do women, which make up 49% of the population have such a low representation at the top?

    Over the last decade, surveys and studies about women in the entrepreneurial space steering the discourse towards this topic. As much as these surveys and research are important, there are also very few which deal with statistics about women in the corporate scene. Hence, here I am trying to accelerate the discussion trying to find what the stats say, why is it the case and what impact does having more women in top roles have.

    What the data says

    The figures suggest that though women have started taking up power roles and many women are running their own businesses, the figures aren’t phenomenally encouraging. Only 14% women run their own businesses and 7.7% of board seats and a minimal 2.7% board chairs are held by Indian women- A lowly scenario, as researched by Catalyst- a non profit organisation working in research to accelerate women’s growth in the corporate sector.

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    Why women are unable to acquire leadership roles

    There are a variety of reasons why women are not invited into the boardroom. Gender driving the hiring decision is a major factor.  This results in about 54 percent companies not having any woman on their board even after the government making it a law to have at least one. Then come other reasons like working conditions, women quitting jobs mid-career, and some such.

    The most widely heard reason is that due to family responsibilities women tend to put their careers at the back seat. A lot of other women who vie for leadership roles are considered over ambitious in the inner corners of the country. This makes it a problem for women from tier two and tier three cities to grow.

    However, hiring more women is the need of the hour as having them at the workplace will help the Indian economy grow by 27percent, estimated by International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde.

    ICICI Bank CEO Chanda

    A successful woman at the top: Chanda Kochchar, MD & CEO ICICI Bank( Picture Credit: Bloomberg)

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    What happens when more women take up leadership roles

    So does having more women in the boardrooms bring any change? It damn well does. First and foremost, it brings out diversity in perspective and ideas resulting in the better growth of a company. Secondly, more women leads to gender sensitization right from board-level of company resulting in carefully revised advertisements and understanding of what should go out for public consumption and what should not.

    Another Catalyst report researched that among the Fortune 500 companies, those having more women in the boardrooms showed more financial progress than the ones having the least number of women by 53%. Women don’t just result in more profitability but also better sustainability of companies, echoes Kellie McElhaney, the Whitehead Faculty Fellow in Corporate Sustainability for the Haas School of Business at University of California, Berkeley in her report on female board of directors and corporate sustainability, as stated in TriplePundit.

    So now we know how great a change in the corporate sector can occur if more women choose to join and aim for higher roles. More women would mean progress for the economy. Are the Corporates listening?

    Feature Image Credit: theinclusionsoluton.me

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