The number of women on boards in India has doubled over the past six years to 11.2 per cent in 2015, from 5.5 per cent in 2010, says a Credit Suisse report.
According to the Credit Suisse Research Institute’s bi-annual CS Gender 3000 report, the Asia-Pacific has shown significant progress in gender diversity and India has closed the gap with a global average of 14.7 per cent.
While there is evident of progress in female representation at the board of directors level, this positive trend does not carry over to the participation of women in senior management.
“India saw a slight decline in management diversity, from 7.8 per cent in 2014 to 7.2 per cent,” the report said.
Moreover, India is the second-lowest in the region in terms of female representation at a senior management level, behind Japan and South Korea (both at 2.3 per cent).
Globally, boardroom diversity has increased from 12.7 per cent at the end of 2013 to 14.7 per cent at year-end 2015.
The top 5 countries with the highest percentage of women represented on corporate boards are Norway (46.7 per cent), France (34 per cent), Sweden (33.6 per cent), Italy (30.8 per cent) and Finland (30.8 per cent).
Among the 12 Asia-Pacific countries surveyed, Australia has the highest representation of women in the boardroom (20.1 per cent).
The Credit Suisse Research Institute has mapped 27,000 senior managers at over 3,000 largest companies globally.
The report noted that companies with greater boardroom diversity continues to be rewarded with excess returns.
“Of the 265 Asia-Pacific companies with over USD 10 billion market capitalisation, those with at least one female board member delivered 58 per cent outperformance in share prices from 2006 to July 2016,” the report noted.
Meanwhile, Emerging Asia (China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand) also saw higher levels of gender diversity in finance and strategy roles compared with the 2014 results.
Women make up 14.1 per cent of CFOs globally, with Emerging Asia — China in particular — leading with a 22 per cent female representation, the report said.
The report debunked the Queen Bee syndrome, which argues that women who have made it to senior positions actively seek to exclude other women from promotions into top management.
As per the report, female CEOs globally are more likely to surround themselves with other women in senior roles.
Female CEOs are 50 per cent more likely than male CEOs to have a female CFO and 55 per cent more likely to have women running business units.