Few women are around in Indian boardrooms

The redesignation of Shanti Ekambaram from a wholetime director to deputy managing director at Kotak Mahindra Bank is a significant development. In an era when none of the five largest private sector banks in India have a woman chief executive officer or executive director, reports the ET Intelligence Group.

There were a number of female bank CEOs a decade ago; as of now, the only public sector bank with a female CEO is Union Bank of India. With female CEOs, foreign banks like Standard Chartered India and Bank of America stand out as exceptions. However, data from Prime Database for fiscal 2023 shows that only seven of the 142 listed BFSI companies in the NSE-1000 are led by women.

In the Indian IT sector, the situation is even more awful because there isn’t a single female CEO among the 54 companies in the NSE-1000 index. Despite having over 200,000 female employees, market leader TCS does not have any female Key Management Personnel (KMPs). Only Wipro, one of the top 5 IT companies, has a female KMP. Nevertheless, things are starting to change; in September of last year, Tech Mahindra announced the appointment of Ruchie Khanna as company secretary. The ‘Business Responsibility & Sustainability Report’ disclosures for FY23, as compiled by Prime Database, show that the IT and BFSI sectors, which have historically been important employers of women, have an overall diversity ratio of 35% and 23%, respectively. Even if barriers are still present, there is hope that the industry will improve as a result of the continuous, deliberate effort to raise the number of women in senior management and key positions.


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