Mumbai: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman rued Monday that women are reluctant to join company boards. She disclosed that she has herself struggled to convince candidates. The remarks from Nirmala Sitharaman come even as the statutes mandate top 1,000 companies to have at least one independent woman director.
“I have actually made a lot of attempts in my own level as a minister in calling up some people and saying please would you not want to come to a board? We want your experience. We want presence. No, I have not had enough women coming. So, there is a serious issue,” Sitharaman said.
“Get me those kind of women who can be put on the boards. Where are they?” she asked the audience at a post-Budget meet with industry in the financial capital.
Sitharaman also urged the industry to come up with the right solutions to tackle the problem, assuring all support from the government.
“We should talk, think about it and also keep the end results that we so desire before us. All of us will have to apply our mind,” the minister stated.
Revenue Secretary Tarun Bajaj chipped in to say that over half of the Central Board of Direct Taxes now constitutes women. He termed the experience of working with them as much better, easier, one that leads to many perspectives and a balancing one.
Headhunter-turned-founder of Avaana Capital, Anjali Bansal, said the percentage of women directors has grown to 20 per cent now from 3.5 per cent earlier, courtesy the changes in the Companies Act and recommendations of the Uday Kotak committee on corporate governance.
To a suggestion on mandating hiring of women for companies, Finance Secretary TV Somanathan made his concerns public.
“You (industry) are now seeking government regulation on something which is unregulated. If that is what you want, you should be very clear and that should not become like CSR, where people said why to have a regulation? Why 2 per cent? Why not 1.5? Why not 3 per cent?” he said.