From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Nothing much
Mains level : Women and the glass ceiling
If national societies were brands, “diversity” would certainly be the buzzword for India. So would hierarchy and inequality.
- The CS Gender 3000 report, released by the Credit Suisse Research Institute, points to the lack of equal or even adequate representation of women in the upper echelons of corporate India.
- According to the report, India’s female representation on corporate boards has increased by 4.3% over the past five years to 15.2%.
- This growth is well below the global average of over 20%.
- India also has the third-lowest rank in the Asia Pacific region with regard to female CEO representation – at 2%.
- It also has the second-lowest rank for female CFO representation at just 1%.
- The report merely confirms what has long been known anecdotally.
- Apart from a few high-profile corporate leaders, by and large, the upper echelons and even senior management positions in the private sector continue to be dominated by men.
- At the time of intake, there is far greater gender parity, but the number of women reduces exponentially as we move higher on the pyramid of the corporate hierarchy.
- The report surveyed 3,000 companies across 56 countries and found that, globally, the number of women in leadership has doubled.
- The countries that lead — Norway, France, Sweden, and Italy — either have formal quotas or informal targets for gender parity in place.
- India’s private sector has long resisted government-imposed quotas for affirmative action.
Attempts to resolve the inequalities
- Since Independence, various attempts have been made to resolve the contradiction between diversity and inequality.
- Reservation in government jobs and educational institutions, 25% quota for students from economically weaker sections in private schools are such attempts.
- Though the private sector resists legislation that circumscribes it in matters of hiring and promotion, there can be no case for the continuing glass ceiling that women and marginalised social groups face.
- The private sector accounts for over 95% of the labour force. Corporate leaders and boards must seriously consider institutionalised mechanisms to ensure diversity and equality.
- Government regulation is best stymied by proactive action from companies themselves
Keeping half the population from roles that could allow them to change the nature of India Inc can only be counterproductive in the long run.