Despite women constituting almost half of the world’s population, the corporate world is still dominated by men with very few female faces seen holding management posts. As per Grant Thorton’s International Business Report (IBR) 2012, women hold barely more than one in every five senior management roles
The worst situation is seen in Japan, where as per the IBR, only five per cent of women held the senior management posts in the country. After the recent appointment of Hideko Kunii as the first female board member of the automobile giant, Honda, the proportion would improve but the change would be very insignificant. As per the report, Russia houses the maximum number of women in top stops with 42 per cent followed by South East Asian countries having 32 per cent females in the management. Situation is India is also not that great with only 14 per cent of management posts currently held by women.
It is a general view that the women population of the world has progressed in all fronts over last a few years but in realty, the report points out that even today reasons like raising of children and taking care of household is usually cited as the major explanation for women not being able to make to the top spots. The report further highlighted that just, “21 per cent of senior management roles globally are held by women in 2012, a figure which despite much talk, has barely changed since 2004 when it was 19 per cent.” Globally, fewer than one in 10 businesses are led by women with 9 per cent of businesses have a female Chief Executive Officers (CEO). Australia emerges as the country with the highest proportion of female CEOs, where three in 10 businesses are led by women.
But with time passing, all nations across the world are either started taking action towards improving women representation or are in process of drafting guidelines. One of the most recent moves came from the European Parliament which has given approval to draft law for 40 per cent quota for female directors in European Union companies. Norway is the first country in the world to impose a gender quota, requiring nearly 500 firms, including 175 firms listed on the Oslo bourse, to raise the proportion of women on their boards to 40 percent. Spain also has a similar gender equality law as per which any company with more than 250 employees need to have at least 40 per cent women on their board by 2015.
In the United Kingdom, the Government has called for at least 25 per cent of FTSE 100 boards to be made up of women by 2015. Though Japan till now hasn’t had a well framed law for ensuring increased women participation in business, but Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe aims to have at least 30 per cent of women in executive positions in the country’s companies by 2020. He also called for each Japanese company to have at least one female executive.