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Critically analyse the performance of the gender quota policy (At least one woman on board) for corporate boards, mandated under Indian Companies Act, 2013.

Topic: GS-1: Social empowerment

GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

3. Critically analyse the performance of the gender quota policy (At least one woman on board) for corporate boards, mandated under Indian Companies Act, 2013. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Breaching The Boys’ Club – The Economic Times

Why the question:

The article presents a critical analysis of the performance of the gender quota policy (At least one woman on board) for corporate boards, mandated under Indian Companies Act, 2013.

Key Demand of the question:

In detail critically analyse the gender quota policy mandated under Indian Companies Act, 2013.

Directive:

Critically analyze – When asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with the nuances of the Act.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Present first the positive aspects of the policy: Indian Companies Act, 2013 mandated the presence of at least one woman on boards of public and private companies that meet a certain threshold of paid-up capital or turnover.

Account for the criticisms of the policy –

Anti-meritocratic: As it puts gender over merit in board appointments.

Symbolic female appointments: 5% of companies only met the lowest threshold required by the quota of appointing one woman on board.

There is a continuance of rigid corporate work culture that relies on old boys’ clubs for director-level recruitment, male-heavy networks of existing board members etc.

Reinforcing fiefdoms: One-fifth of companies appointing at least one woman have familial ties to their board.

Discrimination in the role: Women directors are often sidelined in committees like nomination committees that are responsible for director- and executive-level recruitment.

No positive spillovers: In the form of recruitment of more women at lower levels.

Conclusion:

Suggest way forward.