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What's Inside

According to the ILO study entitled: Women in Business and Management: Gaining Momentum (published in January 2015), which covers 80 of the 108 countries for which ILO data is available (Please click here to access):

Indian Situation

• Based on a study from Spencer Stuart titled 'India Board Index 2012, Current board trends and practices in the BSE-100', the present ILO report - 'Women in Business and Management' informs that nearly 4.0 percent of CEOs in Indian public listed companies during 2012 were women.

• Instead of legislating 'controversial' mandatory quotas for women on company boards, countries like India, Pakistan, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong China, Malaysia, Singapore, Pakistan, UK and USA have adopted a variety of measures to promote more women in management, such as inclusion of gender diversity requirements and reporting in corporate governance codes, codes of conduct, voluntary targets and cooperative initiatives between business and government.

• Based on a survey by Catalyst Inc. Knowledge Center during March 2014, the ILO report informs that India is among 13 countries, which has less than 5 percent of company board seats occupied by women.

• According to the ILO report, Jamaica has the highest proportion of women managers at 59.3 percent while Yemen has the least with 2.1 percent. For its part, the United States is in 15th place in the list of 108 countries with 42.7 percent women managers while the United Kingdom occupies 41st place with 34.2 percent. No information on India is provided in this regard.

Global scenario

• The ILO company survey found that 87 percent of the boards of respondent companies had a man as president while 13 percent had a woman as president.

• The ILO company survey in the developing regions found that women were just over 20 percent of CEOs. The survey respondents were mostly middle to large national companies. This reflects that more women are able to reach top jobs in local companies as compared to large publically traded businesses and international companies.

• Over the past two decades women have attained 20 percent or more of all board seats in a handful of countries: Norway, which, at 13.3 percent, boasts the highest global proportion of companies with a woman as company chairperson, is closely followed by Turkey at 11.1 percent.

• The ILO company survey found that 30 percent of the respondent companies had no women on their boards, while 65 per cent in total had less than 30 percent women; 30 percent being often considered as the critical mass required for women’s voices and views to be taken into account. Thirteen percent had gender-balanced boards with between 40 and 60 percent of women.

• The ILO report shows that women still have to deal with a number of hurdles to reach positions as CEOs and company board members. While they have advanced in business and management, they continue to be shut out of higher level economic decision-making despite the last decade of activism to smash the “glass ceiling”.

• The glass ceiling that prevents women from reaching top positions in business and management may be showing cracks but it is still there. More women than ever before are managers and business owners, but there is still a dearth of women at the top of the corporate ladder. And the larger the company or organization, the less likely the head will be a woman – 5 percent or less of the CEOs of the world’s largest corporations are women.

• The ILO survey shows that attaining experience in managerial functions, such as operations, sales, research, product development and general management, is crucial for women to rise through the central pathway to the top of the organizational hierarchy. However, women are often siloed in managerial functions such as human resources, public relations and communications, and finance and administration, and are therefore only able to go up the ladder to a certain point in the organizational hierarchy.

• Among the sample responses in the ILO survey, ICT managers appeared to be men more often than not, while there were more women as quality control and procurement managers.

• The barriers to women’s leadership are: a. Women have more family responsibilities than men; b. Roles assigned by society to men and women; c. Masculine corporate culture; d. Women with insufficient general or line management experience; e. Few role models for women; f. Men not encouraged to take leave for family responsibilities; g. Lack of company equality policy and programmes; h. Stereotypes against women; i. Lack of leadership training for women; j. Lack of flexible work solutions; k. Lack of strategy for retention of skilled women; l. inherent gender bias in recruitment and promotion; m. Management generally viewed as a man’s job; n. Gender equality policies in place but not implemented; o. inadequate labour and non-discrimination laws

• The ILO report informs that today, women own and manage over 30 percent of all businesses, ranging from self-employed (or own account workers), micro and small enterprises to medium and large companies. However, women tend to be concentrated more in micro and small enterprises.

• The ILO report outlines a number of recommendations to close the remaining gender gap, including seeking ‘flexible solutions’ to manage work and family time commitments as an alternative to being subject to special treatment or quotas; providing maternity protection coverage and childcare support for professional women; ‘changing mind-sets’ to break cultural barriers and fight sexual harassment; and implementing gender-sensitive human resources policies and measures.

• A 2011 report of Catalyst found that Fortune 500 companies with the most women board directors outperformed those with the least by 16 percent on return on sales.

• The 2011 report of Catalyst shows that companies with the most women on their boards outperformed those with the least by 26 per cent on return on invested capital.

• The 2011 report by Catalyst also shows that companies with high representation of women – three or more – on their boards over at least four to five years, significantly outperformed those with low representation by 84 percent on return on sales, by 60 percent on return on invested capital and by 46 percent on return on equity.

• A 2012 study by Credit Suisse shows that, over the previous six years, companies with at least one female board member outperformed by 26 percent those with no women on the board in terms of share price performance.

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