According to an IIMA research, there are more women on corporate boards presently, but not in senior management, and pay disparities to continue to be a concern.

The Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA) conducted a crucial study that identified several concerning features of gender imbalance in the Indian corporate world. It is concerning that this has occurred despite growing acknowledgment inside India Inc. of the need to change this and allow merit to take precedence over gender.

Here are some of the key findings:

  • As women advance in their jobs, the pay gap between men and women grows. The salary disparity between men and women widens with each step up in responsibilities.
  •  Women make up a smaller share of top management and senior executive roles than they do on the Board of directors(BOD).
  • The number of female directors at the top has risen from 4.5 percent in 2014 to almost 16 percent in 2020. 
  • Women senior executives make an average of INR 85 for every INR 100 earned by men senior executives.
  • Women’s senior executive compensation averages INR 1.91 crore, whereas men’s senior executive compensation averages INR 2.24 crore.
  • HUL, Kotak Mahindra Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, and L&T Infotech are among the major corporations with a high percentage of women in top management positions.
  • An increase in the number of women on boards has not yet translated into a considerable increase in the number of women in top management positions.

Other results of the study that need to be considered include:

  • For 2019, women’s participation in the workforce in India is 20%, compared to 55% in the United States and 60% in China (World Bank, 2019).
  • By 2025, it is estimated that achieving gender equality in India will add US$700 billion to the country’s GDP (FICCI, 2019).

The study is titled ‘The Glass Ceiling: Research Report on Leadership Gender Balance in NSE 200 Companies’. It was undertaken by Professor Promila Agarwal, Associate Professor, Human Resource Management, IIMA. The research was conducted using data from 109 NSE 200 businesses in the previous financial year, comprising 4146 senior executives. It was undertaken with the dual goals of promoting gender balance among top management and senior executives in Indian organizations, as well as assisting women in senior management in their career advancement.

An online fireside discussion with Ms. Indra Nooyi, former PepsiCo CEO, was held for IIMA students to coincide with the release of the study’s findings. She is mentioned in this article as suggesting that businesses should treat all employees equally. She proposed that organizations achieve this by putting in place measures to create a critical mass of female leaders who could set an example and inspire other women. “Another crucial factor is that men in positions of power must be educated. Men in society have to be educated not to discriminate against women,” she continued.

“The expanding pay disparity was undoubtedly an important finding, as was the fact that women’s representation in senior management roles is quite low, and consequently organizations need to create measures to remedy this,” said Professor Promila Agarwal. The good news is that the firms appear to be open to it.” She said the data was taken from the NSE 200 companies for the last financial year (2020-21).

The reasons for the persistent gender imbalance difficulties were divided into four categories by the study: family, organization, self, and society. In the family, there are issues such as career vs. marriage, and being a primary caregiver; in the workplace, there are issues such as discrimination and attitudes; self-limiting behaviors can be attributed to self,’ and finally, in society, there are issues such as ‘gender stereotypes and discrimination.’

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