Corporates Hiring More Women -The Trend Will Stay For Some Time

After the introduction of a Bill that makes the presence of at least one woman on boards of a certain class of companies mandatory, the ratio of women on board is expected to increase. The hiring trend and in turn the corporate decisions will also be affected as a result of this. Famous software company Wipro is very soon going to have a female director on boards - says existing chairman of Wipro - Mr. Aziz Premji. Their company has been looking for the right candidate and will be able to announce the name most probably in Feb, 2014. "We have interviewed lots of women entrepreneurs and have found good experience and a different perspective on things", says Ashok Ganguly who is an independent director and chairman associated with Wipro. He believes that the women director for sure will bring different perspective on things within an organization.

A recently released research says - "There is lack of proper guidance and systematic training for making successful and efficient women directors. Much more steps need to be taken in this regard. The research has been done by Vasanthi Srinivasan, an associate professor in organizational behaviour and human resources. Rejie George Pallathitta, an associate professor of corporate strategy and policy accompanied him in the research. If a training schedule can be developed, the corporate industry will never have shortage of women directors, believe the two professors.

Some unique corporate leaders have formed a group that is ambitious about training budding women directors. The group has been formed by Arun Duggal (chairman of ShriRam Capital) and Anjali Bansal (Managing Director of Spencer Stuart, India). Arun Duggal says - 'My only intention is to mend the gender gap that exists in our boardrooms. He is a visiting professor in IIM Ahmadabad and associated as a chairman with boards of various companies. The presence of women on board increases the perspective and represents a much justified image of the corporation, believes Duggal.

Bansal says - according to Spencer Stuart India Board Index 2012, the women presence in top 100 companies was only 7%. In US, this is 17% and it is 15% in U.K. She feels there is lack of proper supply of women entrepreneurs who can take up the challenging role of board members and directors. The duo got the idea for mentoring women for directorial role by seeing a similar effort being done by 'Catalyst Group' in New York. Under that program, 15 women executives were trained.

The same initiative is being transferred to other places like Canada and Australia. Both Duggal and Bansal have gone forward to recruit 50 India Inc leaders to act as mentors for women. Nearly 100 women have been enrolled into the mentorship program. Its first batch has completed the program which includes a complete reading list, weekly calls and regular meetings to practice as well as understand the task of being a 'Director'. The mentors will give the learners an opportunity for being a participant in the real on board meetings. They will be required to sign the confidentiality agreements before doing so.

Both the mentors, Bansal and Duggal believe that there is good and knowledgeable workforce in form of women entrepreneurs but there is a gap at the middle level. If we could make sure women exist at all levels, we can mend this leakage and women will in turn be more confident and productive at the directorial level. Both have high hopes, that very soon such mentoring programs will not be required. "This year, our goal is to place at least 100 women on boards", add Bansal and Duggal.