Companies

Companies need to promote women-friendly policies

TE Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on April 04, 2014 Published on April 04, 2014

Promoting women–friendly HR policies, flexible work schedules, fast track programmes and mentoring are steps to encourage more women to forge ahead in their careers. Out of the 1,456 companies listed on National Stock Exchange, only 490 have a woman Director on their board.

Securities and Exchange Board of India while reviewing corporate governance norms for listed companies recently said at least one woman director should be on the company’s board.

This means, over 5,000 women directors need to come on board companies in the next two to three years.

But are there enough qualified persons?

According to E Balaji, a HR consultant, women constitute 24 per cent of the Indian workforce but they form only 14 per cent of senior management. The number drops to 5 per cent when it comes to top management or board level positions.

Mentoring support

Many companies are having active diversity policies to support women balance their family and professional responsibilities. Companies are framing policies to help retain talented women. They also provide mentoring and coaching support to their high potential women employees to groom them to be potential directors, he said.

Moorthy K Uppaluri, CEO, Randstad India and Sri Lanka, said there is no dearth of ‘great’ female talent. But there are not enough ‘corporate-ready’ women in large numbers for board and Executive–level positions.

Promoting women–friendly HR policies, flexible work schedules, fast track programmes and mentoring are steps to encourage more women to forge ahead in their careers. Companies should create strong policies for ‘back-to-work moms’ and ‘work-from-home women’. Out of the 1,456 companies listed on National Stock Exchange, only 490 have a woman Director on their board, said Indianboards.com, a joint initiative between Prime Database and National Stock Exchange.

Women entrepreneurs

Arun Jain, Executive Chairman, Polaris Financial Technology Ltd, said it should not be a problem to find woman directors. There is enough talent as passionate women professionals continue to prove their ability in their areas of expertise.

S Gopalakrishnan, Executive Vice-Chairman, Infosys Ltd, told Business Line on the sidelines of an event at IIT Madras recently, “There are a large number of women entrepreneurs and executives in the country. We need to leverage that better. Because of the change in rules, I strongly believe that we will create a cadre of women directors. It will be taken care off over time in three to five years.”

Published on April 04, 2014
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