India has taken the top spot among Asian countries with the highest number of women in board positions, according to the 2020 Global Board Diversity Tracker by leadership advisory firm Egon Zehnder.
The report says that India has fared better than other countries in Asia as a whole in diversity of both executive and nonexecutive chair roles, with 5 percent of executive chair roles filled by women in India and 10 percent of non-executive chair roles respectively.
Asia’s averages for these stand at 2.6 percent and 5 percent, respectively.
Globally, 23.3 percent of board positions are now held by women, up slightly from 20.4 percent in 2018.
In India, 17 percent of board positions are held by women in 2020. This is an 8.6 percent increase over 2012. Further, 20 percent of female directors in India hold more than one board seat compared to 8 percent of men.
This year’s report analysed data from 1,685 companies across 44 countries with a combined market capitalization of more than $48 trillion--organizations that have the weight and collective magnitude to drive tangible impact economically, socially and culturally.
“The results are clear – while there is progress in gender diversity globally, the rate of change is insignificant. Despite increased attention to diversity and inclusion that has sparked conversation and movement, making tangible progress is still challenging,” said Egon Zehnder in a statement.
In 2020, 89 percent of major companies have at least one woman on their board, up from 85 percent in 2018.
In India, that number is higher, with 96 percent of companies in our survey having at least one woman on their boards. This could also be because India requires public companies to have at least one female director.
In India, 23 percent of large company boards average at least three women, up by 10 percent from 2018.
Globally, women now make up 27.3 percent of all board committee leaders, up from 25.5 percent in 2018. In India, women held 11 percent of committee chairs. However, women comprise just 2.1 percent of all board chairs, up from 1.5 percent in 2018.
Globally, new board appointments made up 13.5 percent of all board positions in 2020, up from 11.4 percent in 2018. Of that number, 30 percent were women, up from 27 percent in 2018.
In reality, this means that only 4 percent of all directors are women new to the board, only a 0.9 percent increase from 2018.
In India, women comprised 16.3 percent of new board appointments.
Egon Zehnder says in its report that there are several long-term and short-term actions to take in order to successfully make a difference in terms of diversity. It said that one must champion change from the top and also make a conscious decision to bring people with different perspectives, experiences to the workplace.It added that the chief executives at companies should also be held accountable to diversity commitments to ensure sustainability of intent.