Dwaipayan Chakraborty PGP Class of 2015, Indian Institute of Management,
'Industry won't empower women unless there is legal enforcement'
Legalised quotas for women are not discriminatory, but they rather compensate for existing discrimination. Ensuring the presence of women on boards adds new perspectives to board discussions, and further paves the way for increasing female leadership across all levels. In Norway, the imposition of such a quota initially met with resistance and a fear of loss of economic competitiveness. But the fears were proved false. The World Competitiveness Yearbook 2010 showed the country doing better with the quotas in place.
Though some companies in India have created an environment for the proper growth of women, a large section of industry dominated by conservatives shies away from empowering them unless there is legal enforcement. A research report, women.gov.on.ca, shows that Fortune 500 companies with a greater presence of women on their boards score well on financial performance.
Companies with both women and men on their boards tend to have good employee relations, ethical product sourcing, strong environmental and human rights records and support for local communities. Legalised quotas would engage the board and executives to find suitable woman candidates. They would compel organisations to come up with training programmes for women so they can do justice to their positions.