Need for substantive representation of women on boards- Maneka Gandhi Minister for Women & Child Development


Need to have a substantive representation of women on the boards rather than a token representation through the family members said, Ms Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, Union Minister, Ministry of Women & Child Development

The ministry of corporate affairs and SEBI have mandated that companies must have at least women on their boards and it was observed that this compliance of Companies Act was often being done by placing the wives or daughters of the promoters on the board, said Ms Gandhi while inaugurating a conference on ‘Women at Workplace,’ organised by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

“I have now written to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs to figure out how we can have a substantive representation of women on the boards rather than a token representation through the family members….I think the industry chamber like ASSOCHAM can play a critical role in taking up this agenda, said Mrs Gandhi .

Mrs. Gandhi further said, “The second issue which my ministry has taken up relates to sexual harassment at workplace. I receive a large number of complaints on a daily basis where organizations are seen to be failing in their duty under the Sexual Harassment at Workplace (Prevention Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013”.

She said, “I had initially taken up this matter with all the Ministries/ Department of the central government so that internal complaints committees, required to be constituted under this Act, are put in place”.

I had taken up this matter with the apex national chambers of commerce and industry asking them to sensitize their corporate members on this important issue. I would like express my concern that the response from the chambers was not very encouraging.

She also said, all organizations having 10 or more persons working with them including some women are required to constitute the internal complaints committee as well as provide sensitization training to all the employee of the company.

“I would request all the chambers to take it up as a mission so that all the members start complying with the provision of the Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act, 2013”, added Mrs Gandhi.

She also stressed upon for providing enabling environment for women to train them for various kinds of professions. Government of India through different Ministries and Departments has a large number of schemes to do this and now we also have an umbrella ministry of Skill Development for this purpose.

We have revised STEP scheme and made it easier for NGOs engaged in training of women to access our assistance. The companies can contribute in this direction in a big way through their CSR initiatives. I will be happy to work with any company or groups of companies who come forward with concrete proposals for providing skill to women.

Companies to suitably modify their recruitment policies so as to provide gender balance in their workforce. I can assure you that having more women in the workplace actually adds to the efficiency of the organization, highlighted Mrs Gandhi.

“In order to help more and more women to participate in the workforce, it is critical that we provide encouraging and safe work environment to them” Minster for Women & Child Development.

Ms Preeti Malhotra, Chairperson, National Council on Corporate Affairs & CSR said, the corporate still need to play a much more enabling and active role in building the infrastructure to allow women to thrive in the workforce & ensure a safe and comfortable working environment for women.

Other who also spoke were Ms Preeti Sudan, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Women & Child Development, Ms Lalitha Kumaramangalam, Chairperson, National Commission for Women, Mr Rajesh Bhatia, Promoter & M.D., Tree House Education & Accessories Limited, Ms Neerja Singh, Group Executive Vice President & Regional Head North East, Responsible Banking, YES Bank, Dr Ravi Verma, Regional Director, International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), Mr Vishal Kedia, Founder & Director, Complykaro Services Pvt. Ltd. and Mr S.C. Aggarwal, Chairperson, National Council on Micro Finance Council.

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