Once a quarter, 50-year-old Spandana Reddy* in Bengaluru takes a break from her regular chores and high-profile kitty parties to attend a corporate meeting. That’s because she’s on the board of a company that her husband founded almost two decades ago. Reddy not only attends the meeting, she also plays the gracious host, overseeing the décor of the boardroom, finalising the menu and arranging chauffeur-driven luxury cars for the independent directors. Last but not the least, she makes her presence felt by approving all the board decisions. All this is not surprising. Till March 26, more than half of the 1,074 women directors of NSE-listed companies, like Reddy, belonged to the family or promoters’ group and had been brought in, primarily, to fulfil the fair-sex quota requirement. More than 1,000 listed companies, the 395 NSE-listed and 1,590 BSE-listed ones are yet to find female directors and comply with capital market regulator Sebi’s diktat to have a women director on the board of the company by month-end. With the deadline nearing, experts say, the number of ‘quota women’ will only rise.
Corporates are increasingly looking at hiring professional women, either from within the family or from outside. “Such a move will lead to career growth of women who will see existing women directors as role models. It will also have a cascading effect on creating women-friendly HR policies,” says Moorthy K Uppaluri, CEO, Randstad, an HR recruitment services firm.
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