By Nita Bhalla NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Only four percent of the directors of publicly listed Indian companies are women, but a landmark law passed last year means companies must act quickly to put more women on their boards, a report said. The report “Women on Boards”, by Biz Divas, a national network of professional women, and law firm Khaitan and Co, said that men hold 8,640 boardroom positions and women 350 in the country’s 1,470 listed firms. “Archaic cultural stereotypes on the roles of men and women in society are largely to blame, while widespread illiteracy and socio-economic problems further worsen the problem.” The Companies Act, 2013 , passed by parliament in August last year, makes it mandatory for public and private firms with an annual turnover of at least three billion rupees ($50 million) to have at least one female director by Oct. 1, 2014. BIG BUSINESS, FEW WOMEN India has two companies in the Fortune 500, Reliance Industries and Indian Oil, but only one of their total of 30 directors is a woman, the report noted.
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