Making an Impact in Leaps and Bounds are the Women of the Corporate World
According to Forbes, just 11 women worldwide were members of the billionaires club as the globe ushered in the new millennium in 2000. Currently, there are 327 billionaires on the earth, representing just 12.25 per cent of the 2,668 billionaires worldwide.
In reality, if we only look at self-made female billionaires, there were five of them in 2013 and the same number this year. (Families excluded). Nine women are billionaires, versus 91 men.
This year, in addition to long-time members of the Forbes India Rich List like Savitri Jindal of the OP Jindal Group, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw of Biocon, and Leena Tewari of USV, the list also includes Falguni Nayar of Nykaa.
Words from the Best in the Game
In the words of Ghazal Alagh, the co-founder of Mamaearth who started this company based on personal care with her husband, Varun in 2016, “Women have not historically received equal opportunities.” In former times in India, girls were assigned to domestic home duties to be married off, while boys were encouraged to pursue higher education. After the year 2000, things started to shift. According to Alagh, there has been a paradigm shift in the number of women working at all levels during the past ten years.
“The primary cause of this discrepancy is the substantially later entry of women into the business or corporate environment. Bala C Deshpande, who has held close to 40 board positions in organisations across a variety of sectors, claims that if one were to look at decadal patterns in India in regards to the number of women having completed higher education, taking employment, staying in employment post-marriage, etc., we started with a very low base.
Only 14,739 women have positions on business boards globally, across 51 countries, according to the seventh edition of Deloitte Global’s Women in the Boardroom report, or approximately 19.7 per cent. Compared to other countries, France has the highest ratio of female board members (43.2%), while India comes in at number 29 with only over 17% female board members.
Whether a man or a woman is in control, running a business effectively involves board skills and in-depth functional competencies, even if gender diversity on boards has improved risk management, accountability, and corporate governance. The issue is not that women lack the potential to lead, but rather that there is little connection between serving on a board and rising to the position of leadership.
A requirement under the Companies Act of 2013 requires that each firm appoint a woman as a member of the board of directors. According to economist and gender policy expert Mitali Nikore, the actual justification for the increase in the proportion of female board members based on this legislation is somewhat faulty. The legislation, not anyone desiring to have women on their board, is to blame for the increase in female board members in India. To put more thought into this, she further explains – Male founders frequently appoint their mothers, sisters, or wives to the board. In some situations, women may not manage the corporation or have any voting rights; instead, they may just be on the board because the law requires them to be there. They might not even participate in making decisions.
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Goenka, who was listed by Forbes Asia in 2016 as the 16th most powerful entrepreneur, claims that “Indian women have been brought up with the notion of family first.” Women frequently have a gap in their work path due to family, pregnancy, and other caregiving duties; men are not always required to make accommodations for this. Goenka continues, “These breaks can affect a woman’s growth trajectory.” Today, men and women entering the workforce are promised pay parity after completing their college degrees, but it doesn’t appear to be enough. There are a lot of other things to think about. It is a matter of “opportunity parity.”
Women’s advancement in the corporate world is indirectly hampered by issues like having to return home by a certain time after work, being prohibited from leaving the office for after-hours parties, and social pressure to be married or have children.
According to Nike, women-owned businesses primarily specialise in the textile, food processing, and service industries like beauty parlours. It’s critical to change the low representation of women in technology given the overall development of companies achieving the unicorn level in India, many of which are coming from the technology industry. Sharma of TeamLease Edtech claims that investors’ biases against women include doubts about their capacity to lead technical organisations or their capacity to make difficult judgments.
Women’s social conditioning frequently acts as a roadblock in their efforts to get capital, launch their firms, turn a profit, and eventually become billionaires. Women don’t need a lot of money. They have minimal aspirations because they are aware that there is a bias against female entrepreneurs and they fear that they won’t be able to manage large sums of money that will be given to them without knowing how they would use it.
The fact that there are more female role models in business is encouraging. The founder of the cosmetics e-commerce site Nykaa, Falguni Nayar, is now the richest self-made billionaire in India. She is ranked 44 on the Forbes India Rich List and has a net worth of $4.08 billion. Roshni Nadar, the chairwoman of HCL Technologies, Indira Nooyi, the former CEO of PepsiCo, and Mazumdar Shaw, the CEO of Biocon are some notable women in business.
Women are gaining access to leadership positions in startups by founding their businesses either alone or in partnership with other people. One will need to work backwards to truly solve some of these problems. Studying failure rates and the contributing variables for women entrepreneurs’ failures is necessary, as is doing an analysis based on how many and how long women entrepreneurs persist. The path ahead may be challenging for women if all of this isn’t analysed and remedial action isn’t taken.