NEW DELHI: Companies can look at appointing female chartered accountants and company secretaries on their boards to meet regulatory requirements, apex bodies of these professional services, ICAI and ICSI, said today.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India has about 40,000 women chartered accountants as members.
Capital markets watchdog Sebi has mandated that listed companies should have at least one woman director before April 1, as part of ensuring gender diversity in the boardrooms.
It has been communicating with listed companies to explore the option of appointing their women members as directors.
"In order to comply with the regulations, it would be desirable for companies to appoint woman chartered accountants on their boards," ICAI President Manoj Fadnis told PTI.
Already, there are female chartered accountants serving on the boards of companies.
The Institute of Company Secretaries of India is working on having a panel of its female members who are willing to be directors on the boards.
ICSI President Atul H Mehta said that female directors are more likely to probe deeply into the issues at hand, by asking more questions and they have a different style of keeping the board engaged, leading to a more robust boardroom deliberations.
"Many companies may tend to first look into their families/friends/extended families for women appointees, just to satisfy the requirement. This could nullify the whole impact of women on board," he noted.
Many countries have taken initiatives to increase women representation on boards of companies.
"Norway happens to be the first one to introduce 40 per cent quota for women directors. Recently Germany passed legislation requiring major companies to allot 30 per cent of seats on non-executive boards to women.
"Other countries like Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, France have all introduced the quota requirement," Mehta said.
Both the Companies Act, 2013 and norms of Securities and Exchange Board of India require corporates to appoint at least one woman director on the boards.
In a rush to ensure compliance with Sebi norms, nearly 200 firms announced appointments of women directors yesterday, while a similar number made the compliance move today.