The Fortune India

Partho Dasgupta BARC Ex CEO: Is gender diversity still a dream in boardrooms?

Is gender diversity still a dream in boardrooms? Partho Dasgupta talks about the long road ahead for gender inclusion in corporates.

Is India falling behind in the gender diversity aspect? Partho Dasgupta BARC Ex-CEO shares what exactly India needs to overcome this hurdle India and Presently Managing Partner, Thoth Advisors.

The gender war has been going on for decades, the tug of war between the two genders is not only limited to home but at work as well. Gender diversity means fair representation not 50% representation. Hiring processes should be equal and fair free of biases and preconceived notions.

“Gender diversity is needed for diverse ideas. The point of view that comes with having the best of both genders is what corporate India needs today.” shares Partho Dasgupta Ex-CEO of BARC India and Presently Managing Partner, Thoth Advisors.

According to a report by DivHERsity in 2019, which studied gender diversity in 300 plus companies, only a quarter of India’s workforce is women. Corroborating this report is the ‘India Skills report 2018’ which shows women’s participation in the workforce at 23% in 2018 which is lower than 32% in 2016. So why are the number so abysmally low in a country with such a large population?

The first problem that women face in getting back into the workforce is the gap that they take during motherhood or other reasons. Women, who were earlier at par with their male counterparts in terms of salary, usually don’t get the same opportunities after a break. It causes them to be under-motivated to take up jobs that pay far less.  

“I think the corporates need to be flexible to include women, having a workplace that is suited to new mothers and mentoring programs for women who have joined after a gap should be put in place if they wish to achieve a diverse workforce.” Partho Dasgupta Ex-CEO of BARC India and Presently Managing Partner, Thoth Advisors.

To address these issues the Indian Government has introduced initiatives like the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill, which requires companies to have at least one woman on their board of directors. The Securities and Exchange Board of India has mandated that the top 500 listed companies in India must have at least one independent woman director on their board.

Leading companies like Larsen & Toubro, ITC, HDFC bank, and Procter & Gamble are making efforts to draw more women by offering flexible work hours and alternate work formats.

“With so much effort and encouragement from the Government, we as a society also need to push for equality and diversity in the workplace”, shares Partho Dasgupta. Countless studies back the fact that there is improvement in the workplace and overall better performance if the workplace is diverse. 

A company can create a positive culture when they are fair and offer a representation of both sexes. Women, for a long time, have been seen only as homemakers. Society expects them to fit only in the role of a mother and not as a provider. It is time we change our perspective and create a work culture that supports women and their talents.

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