Try to think of a woman CEO in Indian IT and our guess is you will struggle. Neelam Dhawan, MD of HP India, may come quickly to mind. But after that, it's not easy.
Capgemini recently promoted Aruna Jayanthi, its global delivery officer for outsourcing, as its CEO for India. Akila Krishnakumar has been head of Sungard India for some years now.
At the next CXO level, it's only a little better. In an industry where over 30% of the employees are women, and which boasts of almost 50% of its new hires in recent times being women, the near absence of women at the top may appear odd.
But it isn't difficult to understand. Most Indian women still value their roles at home. Many times, a woman self-imposes career blocks to prioritize home over work. "A CXO's job involves being available 24/7.
It's not the capability issue, but availability issue," says Kunal Banerji, CEO of Absolute HR. Ganesh Shermon, partner & country head, human capital, at KPMG Advisory, says when it comes to composition of boards, peers impact the choice of other members. "The senior, aged board members are averse to the younger lot, and definitely women at that. Traditional business houses prefer their own family as board members.
They are quite uncomfortable with external women directors on their Board asking them questions," Shermon says.
But there are signs that situation is changing for women. Sunita Cherian, GM for talent engagement and development at WiproTechnologies
, says that as the number of women in the corporate.