Study finds women directors were not only new entrants on board, but also younger than their male counterparts

Corporate India seems to have still not shed its reservations about having women board members, says a study.

The study conducted in all companies that make up the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) Sensex, revealed that half the boards have no women directors.

Of the women on the board, few were in executive roles.

The proportion of women directors was only 0.6 per cent.

The study, done by the Institute of Public Enterprise, Hyderabad, also found that women directors were not only new entrants on the board, but also younger than their male counterparts.

While 11 per cent of male directors surveyed had doctorates, no female director had a doctorate and six per cent of them were undergraduates.

Companies with women board members were mostly from banking, investment or financial sector.

While male directors have expertise in a specific sector, a majority of women directors have administrative experience.

There were no women directors who had experience in steel, petroleum or power sectors, it said. Women were mostly independent directors and non-executive directors. They were either from the family or Government-nominees. No board had a chairwoman.

In contrast to the global trend of appointing international directors since 2005, only 30 per cent of boards had an international director. And, the top man is always an Indian. More than 90 per cent of the CEO/MDs were Indians. The only exception is the auto industry in this regard.

Young board members are playing an active role with 67 per cent of them are in the executive roles in their 40s. About 70 per cent of directors are in their 50s or 60s while 20 per cent are above 70.

Qualifications of directors in general were decreasing with an increase in age, the study observed.

The study had examined 375 directors across 30 boards and was conducted by R. K Mishra and Shital Jhunjhunwala.

naga.gunturi@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on December 17, 2012)
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