Bridge over ocean
1 March 2023 Article

Mind the Gender Gap

Analysis of Women’s Participation, Pay, and Other Measures in Indian Public Companies

  1. Sivananth Ramachandran, CFA, CIPM
  2. Jolly Balva, CFA
  3. Meera Siva, CFA

Recent data indicate that women who want to pursue financial careers in India face significant barriers, including lack of advancement and lagging compensation. This report analyzes the findings and offers recommendations.

Mind the Gender Gap Read Report

Report Overview

In May 2021, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) released the Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report (BRSR) framework, a comprehensive set of sustainability disclosures. For the first time, Indian companies were asked to report on a variety of topics, such as workforce composition, pay, attrition, and other factors, split by gender.In this report, we analysed the FY2022 BRSR disclosures of 134 companies, including 26 financial services companies.


  • The average female participation rate across companies in our sample was 12.7%. Among sectors, IT companies had the highest female participation rates, at 30%, followed by financial services (22.4%).
  • We calculated the ratio of median remuneration of women to men. The average ratio was 0.97, suggesting approximate gender pay parity. However, the ratio drops to 0.52 for key management personnel (KMP) and to 0.64 for directors.
  • The low remuneration of women KMP is a cause for concern. For one, these low numbers may overstate the actual experience because the number of data points is relatively small; 69% of companies had no women among their KMP.
  • Women had higher turnover than men in our sample (18.3% versus 16.1% for men). During the pandemic, more women than men left their jobs as the burden of child and elderly care fell disproportionally on women.
  • Studies show that a majority of women face sexual harassment in the workplace but do not report it. Given this context, we also found low reported incidence of sexual harassment complaints in our sample: 71 out of 122 companies, accounting for over 51,000 women employees, reported no sexual harassment complaints in the past year.


  1. Companies must improve disclosures, particularly related to median remuneration.
  2. Beyond board diversity, there is a pressing need to improve diversity within senior management.
  3. Beyond mentorship, sponsorship is also needed to ensure career progression.
  4. There is a need to track the gender diversity of the talent acquisition and talent development pipelines, with a target to increase the diversity of the overall pool every year.

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