Nirmala Sitharaman asks women entrepreneurs to take up leadership roles

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, addressing a women director’s conclave at BSE headquarters in Mumbai, urged women entrepreneurs and corporate leaders to take up leadership roles and said boards cannot continue to remain as a “men’s club”.

“Women sitting in the board rooms of well-managed companies add more value. Women have to get on the boards of such companies. It can not be a comfortable men’s club anymore. I am not discouraging socialisation among male members of boards, but it is a little difficult for women to be a part of [such boards],” she said.

“Boards should make efforts and will have to rethink the way they want to engage women,” she added.

“There can be few men who can be condescending, but there are many who are not. I wouldn’t be standing in front of you if a tough world made it impossible for women to succeed,” she further said.

Urging corporates to have more females on their boards, she said globally it has been proved that companies with more women leaders on their boards are more profitable and more inclusive.

“The overall number of women directors has increased post the BSE mandate in 2013. About 58% are independent directors and 42% are non-independent directors. Nifty 50 companies have often hired the same women for their boards,” she said.

The minister said women are not asking for gender parity and inclusivity. If you want to profit, get us in. You cannot ignore us anymore, she added.

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