New laws in India that require companies to appoint at least one female director have not been so effective thus far. Some of the wealthiest businessmen in India have, in an attempt to adhere, appointed their wives to the board of their companies. Midnight on Tuesday was the deadline for companies to meet. There is in excess of 5000 businesses listed on the two major stock exchanges in India. However, there are still hundreds of these that have failed to comply with the new legislation. Data has been compiled which shows that approximately 33% of companies from the National Stock Exchange and the Bombay Stock Exchange had not announced female board members by Friday 27th March. By the time Tuesday came around and the deadline fell, this percentage is alleged to have dropped by 17%.
The second richest man in India Mukesh Ambani has selected his wife as a director of Reliance Industries; whilst Gautam Singhania’s wife has been made a director of his own textile manufacturing business. The move was an attempt by the Securities and Exchange Board to enhance gender mixture in companies. Head of the Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde has described the non-utilisation of female workers in India as a ‘huge missed opportunity’. Although the country has a population of 1.2 billion, they rank at 120 out of 131 nations for ‘female labour participation.’