One Woman in every Boardroom

While conducting Interviews with CEOs for my research CEO Commitment to Diversity, I often heard the common lament. “We want to have more diversity in our boardroom. But where are the women?” We just don’t know any, when questioned why they don’t have women on their boards. Though some of the Indian CEOs are cognizant with the fact that having diversity in the boardroom would benefit the organizational performance but they usually fail implementing it at the C Suite level. But, with the Companies Bill 2012 making it mandatory for a woman to be present in every boardroom in the country, change is finally on its way. The Bill states, There will be an appointment of at least one woman director in prescribed class or classes of companies.

The truth is, it’s not hard to find qualified women to serve on corporate boards. In addition to professional executive search firms that maintain databases of men and women who are qualified to serve, there are many women business organizations across the country that perform board searches for a nominal fee, or at no charge. Many colleges and universities have women leadership programs that can help identify qualified individuals from their alumni network. Business and trade associations can also be a good resource for finding senior-level women from different business sectors. Some CEOs have even reported that they have found candidates for their boards by reading articles about businesswomen and women of achievement in national and local business publications.

So why, in 2012 does this inequity persist? Research suggests that all the board positions get filled by the still-existent old boys network and references. Usually, these positions never get advertised. This brings us to the need of having more visibility for the women talent pool we have currently in India. Not all qualified board candidates mirror the traditional director profile executives with C-titles. Companies may consider modifying their board criteria to broaden the pool of candidates. Experts believe boards need to recognize that they shouldn’t be recruiting members based on subject-matter knowledge (technology, financing, etc.), but rather should be seeking effective leaders. After all, it has to be best fit for the position or role.

Find a qualified women director:

Work with an executive search firm.

Find a local women business organization that offers board searches services.

Contact your local university’s  women leadership program.

Identify businesswomen who are quoted in the business media.

Our vision to see One woman in every Boardroom by 2020 is supported through our various initiatives:

  • Search Capabilities of our Diversity Consulting Firm, Altavis which works with Fortune 500 MNC firms to identify Women Directors for their boards.
  • Diversity & Inclusion Roadmap Consulting for large organisations to plug their leaking talent pipeline.
  • Biz Divas network of more than 15000+ women leaders across India in corporates, business & public leadership.
  • Biz Divas Mentoring Leadership Program which aims to train and mentor 100+ women by 2020 to reach leadership positions.

This article was first published on BizDivas.in

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