904 of 1,462 NSE-listed companies (62 percent) do not have a woman on their board of directors according to Prime, a capital market database.
To combat this, Sebi has instituted a mandate that every listed company have at least one by October. To meet the requirement companies need a “required run rate” of 10 appointments per day for the next three months, including Sundays, if they are to meet it.
To add to the problem, many of the directorial positions that are filled by women belong to the promoter group. That inherently creates a conflict of interest. According to Prithvi Haldea, the founder-chairman of Prime, if only independent women directors were to be considered for board positions, 82 percent of companies would have to adjust their criteria of roping in board members.
According to a report in the International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics having a woman on your board of directors yields to stronger corporate governance practices and better results. With only 5.8 percent of board seats occupied by women, India lags both the UK and the US, who have 15 and 17 percent, respectively.
(This story appears in the 08 August, 2014 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)