Representational image (Photo: iStock)
Representational image (Photo: iStock)

India lags in female representation in senior management: Credit Suisse report

  • Ranked 23 globally, India’s female representation on boards has increased by 4.3 percentage points over the past five years to 15.2% in 2019
  • This is significantly below the global average of 20.6%

Mumbai: India is near the bottom of the rankings for female representation at senior management levels, only marginally better than Japan and South Korea, according to a new study by the Credit Suisse Research Institute (CSRI).

CSRI released its third CS Gender 3000 report on Thursday, which is titled "The CS Gender 3000 in 2019: The changing face of companies"

Ranked 23 globally, India’s female representation on boards has increased by 4.3 percentage points over the past five years to 15.2% in 2019. This is significantly below the global average of 20.6%.

India also has the third-lowest rank in the Asia Pacific with regard to female chief executive officer (CEO) representation (2%), as well as the second-lowest rank for female chief financial officer (CFO) representation (1%).

"India saw a slight improvement in female representation in senior management of 1.6 percentage points over the past three years, rising from 6.9% in 2016 to 8.5% in 2019, based on the matched dataset. However, the country holds the third-lowest spot in APAC, ahead of South Korea (4%) and Japan (3%)," CSRI report said.

The report analyzes the gender mix of the executive teams of over 3,000 companies stretching across 56 countries and comprising 30,000 executive positions. In APAC, including Japan, the CS Gender 3000 dataset includes 1,280 companies from 14 jurisdictions.

Globally, the percentage of women on boards globally now stands at 20.6%. This has broadly doubled since the start of the decade and risen from around 15.3% since the last report in 2016.

With 15% of female CEOs, Singapore and Italy rank the highest in terms of female CEO representation globally, followed by Thailand (9%) and the Philippines (8%). APAC countries are also globally leading in terms of female CFO representation, with Thailand (42%), Malaysia (29%) and the Philippines (28%) holding the top three positions.

The experience across geographies, however, varies considerably. Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) has seen a small upward trend in gender diversity in the boardroom, rising to 14.4% in 2019 from 11.6% in 2015. However, the country-by-country range is considerable, stretching from 3.1% in South Korea to nearly 30% in Vietnam and Australia/New Zealand. Three APAC countries – South Korea (3.1%), Pakistan (5.5%) and Japan (5.7%) – occupied the last three positions globally.

Europe leads the regional table with an average of 29.7%, driven by the greatest tailwind of policies and initiatives seeking to address gender diversity within supervisory boards.

The countries with the largest representation include those where quotas or less formal targets exist, such as Norway, France, Sweden, and Italy. The countries that have seen the biggest proportional increase in boardroom diversity in the last five years – of between 9.4 and 12.8 percentage points – have been Malaysia, France, Australia, Germany, and Austria.

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