One female independent director must in firms: MCA

Ministry includes provision for the same in the new Companies Bill


Sweta Ranjan | March 9, 2011

Gender representation in corporate boardrooms is set to become fairer with the ministry of corporate affairs moving to make  it mandatory for companies with five or more independent directors to have at least one woman director.

The ministry marked the International Women's Day on March 8 by announcing its decision to include the provision in the proposed Companies Bill 2009.

"The proposed provision in the Companies Bill will give rightful due to our women in the corporate world,” corporate affairs minister Murli Deora said on Tuesday.

Deora said that the move will help put more women at the helm of coporate decision-making.

“While UPA government is making efforts to reserve one third of the seats in Parliament/Assembly for women, this step is in that direction to achieve the cherished objective of women participation in decision making and giving them a rightful place in the society,” the minister added.

Other than the financial sector, no other sector has opened up top poistions to wome, ministry data revealed.

Industry body Assocham, in a study titled 'Corporate Women: Close the Gender Gap and Dream Big', said that women executives would play a fundamental role in shaping market-leading institutions.

However, the study said that presently out of 1,112 directorships of 100 companies listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange, only 59 positions -- or 5.3 per cent -- are held by women. The figure compare poorly to Canada's 15 percent, US' 14.2 percent and Britain's 12.2 percent.



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