Women are encouraged to attend conferences, seminars and huddles on women’s empowerment to raise their hands for leadership positions. But rarely does a woman with a raised hand succeed in a male-clubbish company. It goes not only to executive positions, but also to corporate governance roles. The latest thing is that Valli Arunachalam, the owner of Ambadi Investments Ltd. with her mother and sister, who owns 8.15% stake in Promoter Family Holding Company, is almost ₹40,000 crore Murugappa Group. Earlier this week, the company’s all-mail board loudly said “no” to her bid for a seat on its board. Arunachalam and other women shareholders are trying to get a fair value for their shares from this public limited. Unlisted holding company. After failing to get it, they are now trying to join the board as a way to take their fight to the next level. Some observers have tried to portray the Ambadi case as largely unrelated to gender bias. , But such arguments are not under consideration. The truth is well known. It does not take more than an acquaintance with business avenues to identify a serious shortage of gender diversity in board rooms and management across the country.
Unlike their rivals in most Western democracies in India, the journey into positions of influence and power over property ownership, office leadership and company boards is long and difficult. This is a two way problem. Instead of facilitating this endeavor, as the whole socio-political setup, or system, would prevent women from working outside their homes by scattering the path with obstacles, and women would often find it easier not to open another war front. Many women who have reached the top of their careers and achieved leadership roles talk about support homes. While this is a necessary condition for such success, it is clearly not enough. Legal and institutional policies are also in place to ensure that women are given a seat at the table.
Although the country’s legal provisions are unclear in the case of an unlisted company, it is important to call the moral failures indicated by the male rejection that often bores women’s search for business power. It should not be unnecessarily mixed with hereditary issues (these are also subject to the traditional attitude of denying gender equality). It is about justice as the value of diversity. The presence of women in leadership positions and board rooms is well documented as being net positive to business performance. There have been controversies over correlation and correlation in studies that have shown that gender-diverse organizations perform better, but this result is beyond controversy. The need for policy-level verification action is unfortunate, but it is clear. A company with paid-up share capital under the Indian Companies Act ₹100 crores or more, or annual turnover ₹300 crores or more, there should be at least one woman on its board. In 2019, only 15% of the board members of our Nifty-500 companies are women, and less than 5% of them are female chief executive officers. This low ratio reflects less on our business culture. Something basic needs to change in men.