Glass ceiling has cracked, but is still unbroken

Tina Edwin New Delhi | Updated on January 13, 2018


Women remain under-represented in most areas

Women continue to be grossly under-represented in key decision-making roles, both in corporate India and politics. Where they do make it to the top, it is not uncommon for them to face gender bias, stereotyping and be paid lower compensation.

For that matter, gender bias and stereotypes were felt more acutely by women in C-suites in India than countries such as the US, a recent Egon Zehnder report ‘Leaders and Daughters 2017’ found. Yet, the share of CEO jobs held by women in India — at 11 per cent — is much higher than the proportion in more advanced Western nations, another study by the same firm found.

However, gender pay gap continues to be high. A report by online career and recruitment solutions provider Monster India says median gross hourly wages of men, at ₹345.8, were about 33 per cent higher than that of women (₹259.8) in 2016. And yet more women are joining the corporate sector.

However, there remain many barriers to joining the big league and boardrooms. Despite the requirements of the Companies Act, 2013, and the listing agreements of the stock exchanges for appointment of a woman director by all listed companies, many are yet to comply. According to, a database of NSE-listed companies run by Prime Database, 15 companies are in default and it includes oil sector heavyweight ONGC. In another 40 companies, there are vacancies caused by resignations of women directors.

Of a total of 10,138 directors of 1,608 companies listed on NSE, only 1,468 or 14.5 per cent were women, data show.

The situation is no different in politics. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, just a little over 8 per cent of all candidates were women. Among the victorious 543 candidates, 62 were women (about 11.5 per cent) even though nearly 48 per cent of all electors were women. In Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ministry of 75, there are only 9 women.

Published on March 07, 2017

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