While conducting Interviews with CEOs for my research CEO Commitment to Diversity, I often heard the common lament We want to have more diversity in our boardroom. Butwhere are the women? We just dont know any, when questioned why they dont have women on their boards. Though some of the Indian CEOs are cognizant with the fact that having diversity in the boardroom would benefit the organizational performance but they usually fail implementing it at the C Suite level. But, with the Companies Bill 2012 making it mandatory for a woman to be present in every boardroom in the country, change is finally on its way. The Bill states, There will be an appointment of at least one woman director in prescribed class or classes of companies.

The truth is, its not hard to find qualified women to serve on corporate boards. In addition to _II_0008professional executive search firms that maintain databases of men and women who are qualified to serve, there are many womens business organizations across the country that perform board searches for a nominal fee, or at no charge. Many colleges and universities have womens leadership programs that can help identify qualified individuals from their alumni network. Business and trade associations can also be a good resource for finding senior-level women from different business sectors. Some CEOs have even reported that they have found candidates for their boards by reading articles about businesswomen and women of achievement in national and local business publications.

So why, in 2012 does this inequity persist? Research suggests that all the board positions get filled by the still-existent old boys network and references. Usually, these positions never get advertised. This brings us to the need of having more visibility for the women talent pool we have currently in India. Not all qualified board candidates mirror the traditional director profile executives with C-titles. Companies may consider modifying their board criteria to broaden the pool of candidates. Experts believe boards need to recognize that they shouldnt be recruiting members based on subject-matter knowledge (technology, financing, etc.), but rather should be seeking effective leaders. After all, it has to be best fit for the position or role.

Find a qualified women director:

Work with an executive search firm.
Find a local womens business organization that offers board searches services.
Contact your local universitys womens leadership program.
Identify businesswomen who are quoted in the business media.

Our vision to see One woman in every Boardroom by 2020 is supported through our various initiatives:

  • Search Capabilities of our Diversity Consulting Firm, Altavis which works with Fortune 500 MNC firms to identify Women Directors for their boards.
  • Diversity & Inclusion Roadmap Consulting for large organisations to plug their leaking talent pipeline.
  • Biz Divas network of more than 15000+ women leaders across India in corporates, business & public leadership.
  • Biz Divas Mentoring Leadership Program which aims to train and mentor 100+ women by 2020 to reach leadership positions.

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Sarika

Sarika Bhattacharyya, Co-Founder & CEO, BeyonDiversity Foundation is a highly respected speaker on gender diversity, leadership and related business issues. She was felicitated with Leadership in Mentoring Award by Hillary Clinton &Vital Voices. She has been featured as the Top 10 Global Diversity Consultants by The Economist and one of theTop 50 Indian Women to follow in Twitter by WOW Asia. You can follow her on twitter @sarikabhattach