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Women now hold 18% of board seats in India, 95% of Nifty 500 cos have at least 1 female board member

Women representation in India Inc boardrooms has improved in recent times but the Covid-19 pandemic has slowed down the pace of growth and much more ground has to be covered to ensure gender parity at workplaces, a new report shows.

Women now hold 18% of board seats in India, up from 13% in 2017 and 6% in 2013, said an EY report, 'Diversity in the boardroom: Progress and the way forward', shared exclusively with ET. Almost 95% of Nifty 500 companies have at least one female board member compared to 69% in 2017, it said.

Part of the credit for this improvement goes to multiple initiatives taken by the Indian government and regulatory bodies. Yet, there's much to be done still.

For instance, the share of women in non-executive positions on Indian boards is much higher than that of women in executive positions and their growth much faster - improving to 21.4% in 2022 from 16% in 2017 against the progress of those in executive positions to 7.2% 6% during the same period. This indicates that there is a need to strengthen gender diversity in corporates' senior echelons, experts said.

"Both aspects - increasing the representation of executive and non-executive women directors - need to be constantly worked on," said Arun Duggal, chairman of rating agency ICRA. "We need to move to a minimum of two women directors on the board."

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