Women directors: Ficci to set up pool to fix issue

New Delhi, May 29 Industry body Ficci is readying a pool of prospective women directors in an attempt to tap into growing demand for them as companies look to bring in diversity to their boardrooms. The Ficci's ladies wing FLO seeks to put in place such a mechanism to ensure "inclusion of women in the workplace".

"Both in India and globally, demand for women directors is increasing as corporations seek to add diversity to their boards in response to competitive challenges or mandated quotas," said Ficci Ladies Organisation (FLO) President Vinita Bimbhet during an interaction.


"Being the largest body of women directors in India, we are also looking at creating a pool of prospective women directors and also enhance the effectiveness of the existing ones."

Bimbhet talked about economic empowerment of women across world as one of the most remarkable revolutions of the past 50 years. In a nutshell, the idea is "to educate potential women executives and professionals who wish to acquire tools to face challenges of corporate board positions".

All listed firms in India are required to have at least one woman director on board from April 1, 2015, as per markets regulator Sebi's directive as also under the Companies Act, 2013, which is aimed at bringing about gender diversity in boardrooms. As on March 31, 2016, out of 5,451 companies listed on BSE, 1,375 have failed to comply with the rule, which have been fined, government data showed. The corresponding figure on NSE is 191.

"FLO's vision for the year is to work towards inclusion of women in the workplace," she said. Bimbhet felt that India needs to increase women's participation in the economy as they comprise as much as half the country's population.

According to her, women's contribution to GDP would expand to 27 per cent, from the current 17 per cent, if they participate in its workplace equally. She favoured keeping regulations to a minimum for startups and entrepreneurs that are key to creating jobs and easier access to finance for women.

The business cell of FLO helps women entrepreneurs from across levels to take their idea on board and convert the same into business, she said, adding that the body offers assistance in finance, marketing and sorting out legal issues. FLO is looking forward to take its initiatives forward through skilling programmes and support for Make in India.


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