India at the bottom when it comes to women on top

CA.Tarun Maheshwari (CA, DISA) (7150 Points)

07 March 2009  

Grant Thornton's international business report on women in management positions makes it evidently clear that even in the evolved times in which we are told we live in, only 24 per cent of all senior management positions in private business are held by women and India's performance is well below the global average with Indian women holding only 15 per cent of top managerial positions in private firms in the country.

The Indian metros do emerge better than the national average with Chennai closest to the global average at 22 per cent followed by Delhi at 18 per cent and Bangalore at 16 per cent.

Grant Thornton India partner Karishma R Phatarphekar said despite an increasing number of women reaching senior management positions, the top levels were still male-dominated. Since most women had to cope with multi-tasking while trying to balance personal and professional lives, only the toughest and the fittest survived in the end, explained Phatarphekar.

Being one of the fastest growing economies in the region clearly does not translate into bigger and more powerful roles for women in India who land far fewer top jobs than women in BRIC countries and India's Asian neighbours. Among the BRIC countries, 42 per cent of top managerial positions in Russia are held by women, 31 per cent in Mainland China and 29 per cent in Brazil.

The Philippines leads where 47 per cent of all top jobs go to women. In fact, the report says the average number of women in senior management positions in the Asia-Pacific region is higher than the global average. One fourth of all senior managerial positions in the Asia-Pacific go to women, and were it not for India and Japan where the percentage is a lowly 7 per cent, this figure would probably be much higher. All other Asian countries on the list better both the global and Asia-Pacific average with Thailand at 38 per cent, Malaysia and Taiwan at 31 per cent and Vietnam, Hong Kong and Singapore at 28 per cent.

Apart from Japan, India's position on the list is better than only 2 other countries - Denmark (13 per cent) and Belgium (12 per cent).

According to the report, women have been most successful in increasing their share of senior management roles in Turkey from 17 per cent in 2007 to 29 per cent in 2009 and in Mexico which has seen a jump from 20 per cent to 31 per cent between 2007 and 2009.

The biggest drops have been in Brazil, where the figure fell from 42 per cent in 2007 to 29 per cent in 2009, and Hong Kong from 35 per cent to 28 per cent between 2007 and 2009.