Women in Corporate India
By Ritam Bhattacharya

The Indian women plays a very pivotal role in the society. From an excellent home maker to professionally qualified, economically independent, the Indian women of today is adaptable of litters is handling every situation that comes on her way. William Shakespeare in his drama The Merchant of Venice once said "All that glitters are not gold" - the same is true with the Indian women in the present world.

A few decades or more back, confronting women in an Indian boardroom used to be a rarity. Women as CEOs and MDs were a pretty uncommon sight. But things are changing, and seem to be changing fast. Women are not only ascending to the top of corporate ladder but taking charge of companies and driving them into the future.

The scenario is also improving in India over the past few years. Today we have scores of women leading various organizations, right from Chanda Kocchar (ICICI Bank), to Shikha Sharma (Axis Bank), from Preetha Reddy (Apollo Hospitals) to Anita Arjundas (Mahindra Lifespace Developers Ltd).

There has also been a positive intervention by the likes of Securities and Exchange Board of India that has mandated that all listed companies need to have women on their board. This acted as a catalyst to push the agenda of gender parity in the corporate space.

From being the lowest in the list of overall women's participation in the workforce, India ranks at the top in the dropout rate as well.

. I feel "Indian women drop out of the workforce much early in their career compared to their counterparts in other Asian countries. India is once again the worst performer in this regard, with 48 percent of women dropping out between the junior and middle level."

The more professional companies want women on the board who can add value to the board rather than a check-mark against this particular requirement.

Therefore, the brief that we get is very, very tight in terms of their requirements. One is competency, the other is experience, both are important. And there are very few women who have the experience.

Ritam Bhattacharya

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