17 Nov 2017 17:34 IST

10% more women in workforce can hike GDP by 16%: Study

Survey by Avtar group and Working Mother Media highlights benefits of a gender-diverse workplace

A recent study points out that increasing the number of working Indian women by another 10 per cent by 2025 (68 million more women), from the 23.5 per cent of women in the workforce today, can increase India’s GDP by 16 per cent, said Subha Barry, Managing Director, Working Mother Media, US.

Speaking at the awards ceremony for the Best Companies for Women in India 2017, Barry said: “A gender-diverse work-force also means greater innovation and better employer branding followed by access to wider customer markets that are precursors to prosperous futures for businesses."

Best companies for women

The awards, given by Working Mother Media in association with the Chennai-based Avtar group, recognised the top 100 companies in India which are the best for women to work in. The top ten companies were present at a colourful awards function held in Chennai on Thursday.

Barry quoted some statistics from the data collected during the initiative: 15 per cent of this year’s winning companies in India are led by women CEOs, compared to just 6.4 per cent of women heading US Fortune 500 companies. In the US 100 Best list, only 11 per cent of CEOs are women, she pointed out to loud applause. Compared with last year, the representation in the workforce of the 100 best companies in India rose from 25 per cent to 30 per cent while 36 per cent of all new hires in 2017 in these companies have been women.

Diversity and Inclusion

The awards, she said, showcase and celebrate best practices from India’s top employers to foster women’s career advancement. The top 10 Best Companies for Women in India 2017 are, in alphabetical order: Accenture Solutions; Deloitte India; EY; IBM India; Northern Trust Bank; People Combine Educational Initiatives Ltd; Procter & Gamble; Schneider India Markets and Tata Consultancy Services.

The selection was based on data spanning seven key policy clusters such as workforce profile, flexible work, women’s recruitment and retention, benefits, paid-time, company culture and safety and security, as provided by the applicant companies.

Barry said that in the US, Working Mother launched a Diversity Best Practices (DPP) Inclusion Index. The DPB Index, she said, helps companies target their efforts to understand gaps and provide specific strategies to raise the bar on D&I strategies. “It’s an index that, with Avtar’s partnership, we hope to bring to India,” she added.

Champion allies

Krishnamurthy SV, Senior Director & India Leader for Industry Applications of Pega India, won the newly-instituted Male Ally Legacy Award 2017 for best practices. The Male Ally Legacy Choice of Jury award went to SV Nathan, Partner and Chief Talent Officer, Deloitte India, and Sushobhan Dasgupta, MD, Johnson & Johnson Medical India. The award was instituted jointly by Avtar and Working Mother in an effort to recognise and encourage male champions who promote and support gender-inclusive practices in their workplaces in India Inc.

Saundarya Rajesh, President, Avtar group, said that in just two editions of the awards there has been a two-fold increase in the women employees spectrum, an over 40 per cent increase in participating companies, over a million data points collated and several thousand best practices assessed. “And the icing on the top is an actual decline in the women’s attrition rate which we hope will change the contours of India’s position in the Global Gender Gap Index in the next few years,” she said.