Can Indian Women Enter the C-Suite?

Today, more and more women are joining the world's work force. But studies have shown that even in the 21 st C, women on an average draw a pay package that is less than that of men. It is also found that there are very few women executives in the
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  International Journal of Application or Innovation in Engineering & Management (IJAIEM) Web Site: Email: Volume 5, Issue 4, April 2016 ISSN 2319 - 4847   Volume 5, Issue 4, April 2016 Page 83  A BSTRACT   Today, more and more women are joining the world’s work force. But studies have shown that even in the 21  st  C, women on an  average draw a pay package that is less than that of men. It is also found that there are very few women executives in the C- suite category i.e. the top management. This study analyzes the various reasons why women make it to the top. It seeks to find  out what can reduce the pay discrimination between genders . 1.I NTRODUCTION   Differences in pay-cheques between men and women have been some of the most debatable numbers when the topic of gender equality in the workplace is discussed. As per the Harvard Business Review, American women earn about 70% of men’s earnings. (Frank, 2015). As per a survey conducted by monster India which is a recruitment firm, women in India earn 27% lower than their male counterparts (Zaid, 2015), and per a survey done by World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2009, average income of women in India is about one third of that of men. (SiliconIndia, 2009) A Forbes Article stated, out of the CEO positions of fortune 500 companies in the year 2012, only 3.8% were women. (Bailey, 2014). In 2014, women held just 24% of senior management roles globally. (Catalyst, 2014). Even though almost an equal number of women enter the workforce as men, the phenomenon of fewer women reaching to the senior positions makes all the difference in the gap in the average pay-cheque. Does this have anything to do with gender discrimination or is this related to what women are capable of, or is it something totally different? The issue possibly is much more complex than what it looks like at face value. The reasons can be different and perhaps many – the kind of jobs women opt for, the cultural beliefs and values, the social attitudes, how a woman’s capabilities are perceived, work-life priorities, the way women sell themselves, men at top preferring to hire men rather than women, women’s capability to work under pressure, women’s leadership skills – the list may be endless. Is it because there are lesser women in the workforce or is it because women started entering the workforce much later? 2.L ITERATURE R EVIEW   The Facts About three in ten companies in the world do not have women on their board or in any of the executive positions. As per Bob Sherwin, the COO of Zenger Folkman, a leadership consultancy firm, as you look higher up in the corporate ladder, the women seem to be vanishing. And this pattern is almost consistent throughout the world. On an average at a lower level, the number of women employees is almost 50% of the total workforce almost everywhere but at each of the successive higher level, the ratio of women to men employees keep decreasing and at CEO level there are only about 3 to 4% of women. Even the employers who are aware and willing to foster gender diversity in their organizations do not fare so well when it comes to the top level leadership, specifically the CEO level. As per the Civil Rights Act in USA, the sexual discrimination in the workplace in banned. So number of women in the workforce fare almost equal numbers, but the problem is related to fewer women moving at higher positions and reaching to the top. (Kalpana Pai, 2009) An EOC chairperson Julie Mellor said in 2004, that even 30 years after the Sex Discrimination Act came into effect in Britain, there is still an underrepresentation of women in influential positions. (Amble, 2004) As per the FTSE Board report, there were only 12.5% of women directors in the boards of top 100 FTSE companies in year 2010 and out of that 5.5% were executive directors. By the year 2013, the percentage of women directors in corporates increased to 17.3 %and executive directors percentage was moved up to 6.1%. In FTSE 100 companies, there were only two women CEOs by 2013. (Sandler, 2014) In Australia, the percentage of women directors is 10.7, as per the census conducted by “Australia’s Equal Opportunity for Women in Workplace Agency”. Women represent a “minority-status” in most organizations and have limited scope Can Indian Women Enter the C-Suite? 1 Dr Pradnya Chitrao, 2 Ms Nilangini Gupta 1Associate Professor, SIMS, Pune Range Hills Rd, Opp. EME Workshop, KirkeeCantt,Pune 411020 2 EXPGPM Batch 2015-16, SIMS, Pune  International Journal of Application or Innovation in Engineering & Management (IJAIEM) Web Site: Email: Volume 5, Issue 4, April 2016 ISSN 2319 - 4847   Volume 5, Issue 4, April 2016 Page 84   and potential to develop their career. Most countries are putting efforts to bring in a legislation to make sure a certain percentage or a number of women directors in the board of listed companies. (Darmadi, 2013) The situation is slightly worse in India than in the other parts of the globe. With compared to multinational companies, Indian companies have lesser representation of women in leadership positions. Studies conducted on some of the leading Indian firms and some leading multinationals revealed that Indian companies had about 5-6% of women in leadership roles whereas in multinationals, there were about 15-20% women at similar positions. As per an Economics Times survey, in top 30 Sensex companies, there are only 16 women directors on the board which makes it 4.8% women out of total 335 directors on the board. Out of 100 companies listed in BSE, there are 50 women directors on board which makes it 5.4% women out of total 923 directors. (Bakhare, 2011) Whether it is a developed country or an emerging country, the phenomenon does not really depend on that. These gender specific differences do not even depend on the cultural background. They follow a similar patterns and almost a global phenomenon with only minor variations in different countries. Reasons As per a McKinsey report, underrepresentation of women is visible at every level of corporate pipeline. Though at an entry level the number of women entering the workforce is large, there are various reasons why this number keep on decreasing and a very few actually reach at the top level. The reasons include many women opting to shift to staff roles from the line roles, getting settled in the middle management, or just leaving the organization. The reasons are mainly the lifestyle choices of women, no support of top management in the organization, a mindset to expect women to behave same way as men do and the lack of women’s personal aspirations to opt for the higher roles. (Yee, 2012) Social factors play a major role why women are not opting for the leadership roles all over the world. As per a study conducted in UK, one of the major reason is high cost of childcare. Women are not willing to get back to full-time work after having a family. Being away from professional career for a certain time period, they lack confidence to join back. Also, a need to update their professional knowledge after a gap and a need to compete with the younger colleagues puts additional pressure on them. Work-life balance faces a major threat which finally leads women to take up jobs with a lesser pressure and stay away from senior positions or completely quit their job and stay at home. (Hurn, 2012) Women downplay themselves when it comes to highlighting their strengths, achievements and contributions because of their modesty. Sometimes highlighting achivements is considered non-feminine and this results into “effect of feminine modesty”. Women usually have a tendency to try to be liked by everyone and they feel that by promoting themselves they will loose on the popularity factor. Claiming success and receiving recognition is uncommon amonst the women because of this. (Mann, 2010) Mandy Coalter who was an HR head at Doncaster Council stated that women need to juggle between famiy and work which makes it very difficult for them. Also, there still exists many outdated attitudes and barriers in companies which women need to face. (Today, 2004) Because of the male colleagues’ attitude and certain inappropriate and biased practices, boardrooms are not able to apply people policies with adaquate fairness. Female directors get frustrated and demotivated. Marry Mallett, president of Society of Personnel Officers states that the problems are too many. The way men and women do business is different. As there are so many men in senior positions, women find it difficult to blend with. Women usually apply for the job only if they are 100% sure that they are capable of performing whereas men just apply to get the job and then figure out how to do it, which plays a negative role in the success of women. (Today, 2004) A difference between the female values and male style of management impacts the performance management systems, promotional decisions, as well as how the resources including salaries and training initiatives are distributed. As the top management is dominated by male, they have an obvious dominant impact on the PMS processes. As per the findings published in FT Magazine (Oct 2005) and Harvard Business Review (Hewlett and Buck Luce, 2005) that state that female leaders are opting out of the corporate jobs because of the highly dissatisfied nature of their  jobs. The major challenge women in top positions face is drawing a fine balance between assertiveness and aggressiveness while managing the relationship with other male leaders. Women also feel like outsiders as they face a sense of isolation in the organizations. They long to be treated equally and to be integrated along with their male counterparts but are often left with a feeling of “not fitting in”. Women become conscious when they are the only one woman in the board meetings and end up spending much more time on preparation. The communication style of men and women is different. Men often dominate while communicating which make women feel uncomfortable. (Cormier, 2007) The evaluation tools for evaluating managers to promote at a higher level may themselves be biased and not gender neutral. They are mostly designed by men and hence biased towards validating male leadership qualities. (Vanderbroeck, 2010) It is a common belief that entrepreneurship is for men and not for women. Men are usually considered to be in control, perceptive, resolute, independent, and striving to achieve the goals which is also defined as the vital characteristics of an entrepreneur or a leader. On the other hand, women are considered not to be having these qualities and hence they  International Journal of Application or Innovation in Engineering & Management (IJAIEM) Web Site: Email: Volume 5, Issue 4, April 2016 ISSN 2319 - 4847   Volume 5, Issue 4, April 2016 Page 85   are considered to be “under-performers”. If a woman has to be successful as an entrepreneur, she has to adopt the male qualities. There is yet a long way to go in terms of defining success in terms of alternate way or in terms of the qualities that women possess. (Female entrepreneurs do it differently, 2013) Is diversity beneficial? A recent research conducted by “The Peterson Institute for International Economics”, suggests that if a firm has more women managers in leadership roles, their profits are likely to go high up. As per the research conducted in 22000 publicly held companies in 91 countries, a firm’s performance is boosted if it has 30% or more women in leadership roles, which results into a higher profitability. (More women executives mean more profits: study, 2016) Diversity at work lead to benefits to the organizations like better innovations and creativity and broader perspectives when it comes to decision-making. It helps the firms to be successful in marketing to different customer segments and types. Women are considered to have a cognitive feeling which helps emphasize on organizational harmony. It also encourages the resource-sharing, and information-sharing as well as a better conflict resolution. This results into a better and democratic leadership. Women leaders have psychological advantage as they have to face much higher challenges to acquire the chair and hence they are usually “tough”. As per a study by Krishnan and Parsons, there is a positive link between presence of women leaders and the quality of accounting reports as well as social performance. Proportion of women on the board also have a positive corelation with the market performance of the firm. (Darmadi, 2013) Zenger Folkman’s study on a sample of 16000 leaders world wide using 360 degree feedback datarevealed that the overall effectiveness of the leadership of men was lower than their women counterparts. In the beginning of a career, men are perceived to be slightly more effective than women but as the age increases (on the other side of 40s), women’s effectiveness increases. Between the age of 40 and 60, the women are much more effective then their male counterparts. as per Sherwin, after the age of 40, the effectiveness of men on certain competencies start decreasing whereas women maintain these competencies. Men after a certain age think that there is no need to ask for the feedback and put efforts on self-development whereas women continue to ask for the feedback and work on self-development. 16 competencies were measured and it was found that women scored better on the competencies like taking initiative, integrity and honesty, drive for the results, self-development practice, developing & motivating others, relationship building, collaboration and teamwork, champions change and establishment of stretch goals. Men scored better in two out of 16 competencies – Technical and professional expertise and develop strategic perspective. The competencies on which women have higher ratings can clearly be categorized as the leadership qualities. (Sherwin, 2014) Indian women rank higher in terms of possessing leadership qualities like honesty, intelligence, hardwork, decisiveness, ambition, compassion, outgoing nature and creativity. Some key strengths of Indian women also include their ability to network with their colleagues, ability to perceive and understand various situations, sense of commitment, dedication and loyalty towards the organizations, ability to multitask, openness and respect to invite ideas from others that results into a better collaboration, skills to manage crisis situations, interacitve leadership attributed to their willingness to share the information, compassionate and understanding nature that nurtures the relationships as well as their gender-neutral behaviour. (Bakhare, 2011) Ultimately businesses benefit from a diverse gender ratio in top management. Exclusion of 50% of the population from the important process of decision making is not only ethically wrong but it is also an economical loss. Women need to participate in economic, social and environmental issues in order to achieve a healthy growth of the society and businesses. It is necessary for the betterment of the society as well as for the success and growth of the organizations that women are involved in taking strategic decisions in business. (Kalpana Pai, 2009) Actions Corporates have realized the need to break this Glass Ceiling and a many companies are taking initiatives to accomplish this. UK government is working since year 2010 to develop a strategy to increase the number of women on boards of FTSE companies. Some of the large companies have already reached the target of 25%. Due to the link between the presence of women leaders and the performance of the companies, shareholders in USA have increasingly started proposing a better gender diversity policy in American Corporations though there is no such legislation in USA. (Diane Lerner, 2015) As per the corporate governance rules by SEBI in India, there needs to be at least one woman director on the board of any listed company in India. But these initiatives are being taken in a very few companies. Nearly 73% of the companies in ASIA-PACIFIC region do not have any strategy to develop women leadership. (Bakhare, 2011) It seems to be requiring sustained and continous efforts for a long period (possibly many years) to move this entire process.  International Journal of Application or Innovation in Engineering & Management (IJAIEM) Web Site: Email: Volume 5, Issue 4, April 2016 ISSN 2319 - 4847   Volume 5, Issue 4, April 2016 Page 86  3.O BJECTIVE   In spite of many initiatives taken by corporates and the governments, it is the fact that fewer women managers exist than their male counterparts. The ratio (of women managers to male managers) is extremely low. The efforts seem to be falling short somewhere. This research aims to analyse and study the various reasons that impact the decreased likelihood of women making it to the top. It also looks into what can be done about it, and how the scenario can be changed. This in turn may serve as a solution to the pay discrimination between genders. This is an exploratory and analytical research aim to study what is the reality of gender ratio and the possible causes in senior management? What work is being done? What steps organizations are taking? What more is required to be done? 4.M ETHODOLOGY   1.   Primary data:  Collected quantitative and qualitative responses from a sample size of 106 respondentsto find if it really is the case that women are less likely to make it to the top and if so, what are the reasons as well as what are the possible course of actions a.   Structured Questionnaire b.   Interview: Unstructured interviews with some senior managers and find out their views about the ratio of man-women at top positions as well as the benefits of having the gender balance in this bracket. 2.   Secondary Data:  The data obtained through various surveys already conducted, through the following sources is used. a.   Newspaper Articles b.   Research Papers c.   Case Studies d.   Company Reports e.   Publications in journals Findings: A survey was conducted with 106 working professionals in various parts of India, Europe and USA (all of them with Indian srcin). Figure 1:   Gender wise distribution of the respondents Figure 2:   Distribution as per their roles in the respective organizations    International Journal of Application or Innovation in Engineering & Management (IJAIEM) Web Site: Email: Volume 5, Issue 4, April 2016 ISSN 2319 - 4847   Volume 5, Issue 4, April 2016 Page 87   Figure 3:  The age, Experience and Education wise distribution of the respondents Table 1:  Statistics of the data collected Strongly Agree Agree Strongly Agree + Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Disagree + Strongly Disagree Have you witnessed gender discrimination at work place? 4% 37% 41% 47% 12% 59% Are there fewer women role models in leadership roles? 19% 62% 81% 16% 3% 19% Are women hesitant to commit to leadership roles? 2% 46% 48% 43% 8% 52% Are many women not competent enough to take the pressure required by a leadership position? 2% 17% 19% 48% 33% 81% Do men perform better than women when it comes to leadership role? 3% 14% 17% 60% 23% 83% Are women hesitant to commit because they give higher priority to family responsibilities? 16% 59% 75% 21% 4% 25% Are women hesitant to commit due to lack of family support? 7% 63% 70% 26% 4% 30% Are women hesitant to opt for leadership role due to lack of professional (coaching/training) support in the organization? 3% 30% 33% 53% 14% 67%
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