HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh on Thursday said some public listed entities are perceiving the Sebi’s mandate of having at least one woman director on the Board of a listed company as a ‘compliance exercise’. “The initiative to appoint a woman director on board in public listed companies was to sensitise corporates on the need to embrace gender diversity, but somehow we still have a long way to go,” Parekh said.
He was speaking at the launch of a programme by SP Jain Institute of Management and Research targeted specifically at women who wish to return to work after a career break. Parekh said some companies use this (SEBI mandate) as a compliance exercise, while some use it as a tick the box issue.
“According to prime database, nearly 75 per cent of these appointments are non-independent and family members defeating the very purpose of bringing in diversity in the corporate world.
“Many corporates have not even followed the Sebi requirement. On the other hand, even Sebi has not been able to do anything out of the 1,000s of companies that are listed,” he said.
Parekh said it was not right for the corporate India to lament that there is not a large enough pool of talent to recruit women directors. He said there was a need to harness the country’s human resources and ensure the corporates do not fritter away (these) opportunities and lose stand.
“Though many employers have recognised the benefits of diversity in workforce, the reality is the gender ratio still remains immensely skewed. Many women tend to drop off the corporate ladder for a variety of reasons, primarily due to family commitments or to pursue other skills.
“Unfortunately getting back on track post the work break is difficult and we need a mindset change here and taking a break must not be construed as detrimental to one’s career,” he said. Take a break is alright and such decisions must be respected, Parekh added.