Women account for nearly 40 per cent of the total workforce of India Inc, but their presence is less than seven per cent when it comes to board-level positions, a survey has found.
India is ranked at 28th in terms of the presence of women directors in, a slight improvement from last year's 30th position, according to Women On Board 2013. The ranking is better than that of a few major countries like Japan.
The survey was conducted on more than 1,400 companies in India and it found that the women constituted just 6.81 per cent of the total number of board members in 2013.
However, this marks an improvement from last year when women accounted for 6.69 per cent of the total board seats.
The female presence on company boards is highest in Norway (37.23 per cent), followed by Sweden (27 per cent), Finland (24 per cent), South Africa (17.31 per cent) and the US (16.67 per cent).
The countries having lower women representation on company boards include Italy (4.23 per cent) and Japan (1.26 per cent), the report said.
The number of companies surveyed were different in different countries.
"India is still need to promote more women for senior management level. Presence of Women members on board are very low, even it's below from average percentage of developing countries," MyHiringClub.Com CEO Rajesh Kumar said.
"While around 38 per cent of employee strength in India is female, among these only 16 per cent are able to reach on senior management level," he added.
According to the survey, the scenario is not much better in some developed countries as well, with Canada reporting only 11.41 per cent women directors, Ireland (11.16 per cent), Spain (10.79 per cent) New Zealand (9.89 per cent) and Switzerland (8.56 per cent).
The countries with extremely low percentage of women on board include Saudi Arabia (0.43 per cent), Qatar (0.89 per cent) and UAE (1.08 per cent).
In India, three per cent of the boards have three female directors, while 44 per cent having only one woman director each, the survey said.
The study observed that the average board life of male directors is three years more than female directors, while globally the difference is only about two year.
The gap between the maximum board tenure of male and female directors is very large.
About three per cent more female directors have been at this position for less than one year, which clearly indicates that boards are just beginning to include female directors, the study noted.
"Also tenure of women members on board compared to male members is a major area where India Inc needs to rethink and positive attitude required. Globally the average tenure is two years for women members on board, but in India it's only one year," he added.
Interestingly, women directors are on an average five years younger than their male counterparts.