We have all read the statistics on the unequal representation of women in the professional domain. Only 5 percent of the CEOs of the S&P 500 companies are women, and they comprise only 14.2 percent of the top 5 leadership positions in these companies despite forming more than 40 percent of the workforce. While the picture in India is similar at leadership levels with 3 in every 100 CEOs of large companies likely to be a woman, the reality is much starker at the junior and mid-career levels. Overall, 23.7 percent of women in India work and contribute 17 percent to the country’s GDP (vs. 37 percent globally) leaving us at the 139th rank out of 145 countries on the WEF’s Global Gender Report.
This clearly presents a sobering macro-picture and shows how much work still needs to be done to address the social and cultural biases that deter women from staying on in the workforce, and how organizational and economic policies need to provide effective support.
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