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India sees more women in leadership roles but boardroom diversity progressing at a snail’s pace

Mumbai, 08 February 2022: The seventh edition of Deloitte Global’s Women in the boardroom report revealed that women hold 17.1 percent of the board seats in India. This number increased by 9.4 percent from the 2014 edition − the year when the Companies Act, 2013 mandated having one woman member on every board. Moreover, only 3.6 percent of the board chairs are women, down by 0.9 percent since 2018.

Globally, 19.7 percent of the board seats are held by women, an increase of 2.8 percent since 2018 compared with 1.9 percent over 2016−2018. At this pace, the world could expect to reach near-parity only in 2045. Austria, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain, the UK, and the US saw the most notable increases.

Disproportionate progress in leadership positions

Although India saw a decline in board chairs held by women in 2021, it witnessed an increase in the number of women taking up CEO roles − 4.7 percent female CEOs against 3.4 percent reported in 2018.

Deloitte Global’s research revealed a positive correlation between appointing a female CEO and the diversity on the board. Globally, companies with women CEOs have significantly more women on their boards than those run by men − 33.5 percent vs. 19.4 percent, respectively. The statistics are similar for companies with female chairs (30.8 percent women on boards vs. 19.4 percent, respectively). The inverse is true as well − gender-diverse boards are more likely to appoint a female CEO and board chair.

“While the Indian regulators have set up a holistic framework to encourage the representation of women in key positions at corporates, the numbers suggest a significant gap between the ideated measures and ground realities. With the continuing disruption and the current pace of change, the case for diverse boards that work with a unified purpose is becoming stronger than it ever was. It is time that gender diversity and gender parity get more focused attention from Indian corporations”, says Atul Dhawan, Chairperson, Deloitte India.

The report provides a summary of the “story on the ground" for each country.

Other key findings of the report reveal additional challenges for women in the boardroom.

Fewer women are serving on more boards. Deloitte Global’s stretch factor metric examines how many board seats an individual holds in a particular market. The higher the stretch factor, the greater the number of board seats the same director occupies in each market.

• In 2021, the stretch factor for women increased slightly from the 2018 figure of 1.22 to 1.30 in India. It indicates that compared with men, a smaller group of women are taking on many more board seats. Men, by comparison, have a stretch factor of 1.20.

• The countries with the highest stretch factor for women—Australia (1.43), the US (1.33), and New Zealand (1.32)—have eschewed quotas in favour of voluntary approaches, such as non-binding targets. Meanwhile, the European countries that were early adopters of quotas have much lower stretch factors for women directors; in some cases, the factor was equal to that of men globally.

• In India, the average tenure of women directors marginally increased from 5.0 years in 2018 to 5.1 years in 2021.

  • Globally, the number decreased from 5.5 years in 2018 to 5.1 years in 2021, especially in markets, such as the US (from 6.3 years in 2018 to 5.3 years in 2021), the UK (4.1 years to 3.6 years in 2021), and Canada (5.7 years to 5.2 years).

The latest edition of the report includes updates from 72 countries on representation of women in the boardroom, deciphering the political, social, and legislative trends behind these numbers.

The report highlights that nearly all countries have local organisations or governments committed to increasing the number of women serving on company boards. Although these joint efforts by the private and public sectors are geared towards achieving parity, the pace of collective progress needs to pick up.

To read the full report, please visit:

Notes to the editor for reference purposes only

Deloitte India herein refers to Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP.

This press release has been issued by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP.

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee (“DTTL”), its network of member firms, and their related entities. DTTL and each of its member firms are legally separate and independent entities. DTTL (also referred to as “Deloitte Global”) does not provide services to clients. Please see for a more detailed description of DTTL and its member firms.

About Women in the Boardroom: A Global Perspective

The global, regional, and country analyses are based on a dataset covering 10,493 companies in 51 countries— more than 176,340 directorships—spanning Asia Pacific, the Americas, and EMEA. Only active directorships and committee memberships were considered in the analysis. To supplement this data, Deloitte Global compiled information on diversity quotas and other diversity initiatives. In total, the publication explores the efforts in 72 countries to promote boardroom gender diversity. In India, 340 companies covered under MSCI index were analyzed. Percentage change noted throughout the report is in comparison to Deloitte Global’s analysis conducted in previous editions of this report, published in 2015, 2017 and 2019, unless otherwise noted. The views and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited or the Deloitte member firms. We make no representation or warranty about the accuracy of the information.

About the Deloitte Global Boardroom Program

The Deloitte Global Boardroom Program brings together the knowledge and experience of Deloitte member firms around the world to address critical topics of universal interest to company boards and management. Supplementing country programs, its mission is to promote dialogue between corporations and their boards and management, investors, the accounting profession, academia, and government. In addition to the publication of thought-pieces on critical topics, the Deloitte Global Boardroom Program hosts a series of must-see webinar discussions with eminent panelists to enable boards and management of global companies to challenge perceived wisdom. For more information about the program contact Find us online.

Media contact:

Rohit Varier
Deloitte India
Tel: +91 9819403110

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