New rules under India’s Companies Act may mean more women in corporate boardrooms. Will this help to correct the gender imbalance across Indian businesses and law firms? Vandana Chatlani investigates

“Ihonestly think that there should never be too much testosterone in one room,” Christine Lagarde said in an interview with The Independent four years ago. Lagarde, the director of the International Monetary Fund and a former lawyer, suggests aggression and greediness manifest in male-dominated environments. “Men have a tendency to … show how hairy chested they are, compared with the man who’s sitting next to them.”

For now, male domination remains the norm in India’s boardrooms. A study by Khaitan & Co and Biz Divas in August 2014, titled Women on Boards, A Policy, Process and Implementation Roadmap, highlights some striking statistics.

The report cites figures from McKinsey for 2011-13, which show that women made up only 5% of corporate boards in India, compared with 6% in Brazil and 8% in China. Women in Japan fared even worse, with only 2% of board positions. The numbers in the West were somewhat better. Women held 16% of places in US boardrooms, 17% in the UK, 19% in Germany and 27% in France.

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