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Women's Day: Why corporate boardrooms need more woman power

Archana Khosla Burman     March 8, 2020

A McKinsey Global Institute report has unequivocally stated that through greater integration of women in the workforce and by bridging gender gaps across diverse trade and industry sectors worldwide, $12 trillion could be added to the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2025.

The report further alludes to the fact that with an increased number of women participating in economic growth and development of India, an additional $2.9 trillion could be added to domestic GDP numbers over the next 5 years. Zinnov-Intel India Gender Diversity Benchmark, a joint study by management consulting firm Zinnov and Intel India has pointed to a rise in women representation on Indian company boards from 5 per cent in 2012 to 13 per cent in 2018.

Deeply entrenched glass ceilings and firmly embedded male-dominated mindsets in the Indian corporate landscape have acted as an impediment to women wanting to attain their optimum potential. With increasing numbers in the boardrooms of corporate India, women are increasingly making rapid strides in leadership positions emerging as key decision-makers in C-Suite designations.

What also makes women apt for leadership roles in a corporate setting is the fact that they have a greater personal connect with their colleagues and co-workers. They are great team-players with a firm belief in participative leadership and decision-making. As compared to their male counterparts, they are known for displaying greater empathy with their subordinates, understanding their problems and deeply valuing relationships in the modern-day corporate setup.

It is also a proven fact that women are good at multitasking and have mastered the art of juggling diverse tasks at the same time to maximise productivity and increase profit margins. They are also adept at prioritising tasks according to their order of importance which leads to better utilisation of time and enhances workplace efficiency. This also leads to efficient allocation and optimisation of resources and reduction in wastages.

Communication forms an integral part of attaining organisational goals. Women leaders ensure that a seamless communication channel is set up between different stakeholders in a corporate setup leading to an effective attainment of company goals and objectives. Rather than resorting to a formal and authoritarian communication style, women leaders communicate in an informal manner which helps in fostering workplace bonhomie and positive working relationships across the value chain.

Crisis management and disaster control form an essential part of a disaster management policy in any corporate environment. A crisis, whether internal or external, if not handled properly, could spiral out of control and may impact the financial well-being and brand value of an organisation. Women are known to be efficient crisis managers and adept at dealing with contingencies, formulating risk mitigation strategies and preparing disaster preparedness plans.   

While women are rewriting the rules of engagement in Indian board rooms and emerging as key stakeholders in decision-making processes, the move to onboard women as members of corporate boardrooms should not be viewed as tokenism, a mere policy compliance initiative.

It will need a change in the mindsets of all stakeholders concerned - business, society and government. It will also need women to become more vocal and vociferous about their right to form a dominant presence in the higher echelons of the Indian corporate ecosystem and playing a constructive role in India's industrial growth and development.

(The author is Founder Partner, Vertices Partners)

Also read: Women's Day: Maternal mortality, abortion, MTP Bill -- here's what the numbers say

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