34% of Indians 'very comfortable' with woman CEO appointment: Survey

Topics Indians | woman ceo | gender bias

Less than four out of 10 Indians feel ‘very comfortable’ about a woman heading their government or a major company, according to findings by research consultancy KANTAR. Further, women in India and globally, are more accepting of women holding leadership positions, compared to men.

This is the first year India is part of KANTAR’s annual global exercise to rate countries on the extent to which men and women are viewed equally in terms of suitability for positions of leadership across all sectors. Named the Reykjavik Index for Leadership, covering the G7 countries and BRIC countries this year, the index runs from 0 to 100 - a score of 100 means that across society, there is complete agreement that women and men are equally suited to leadership in all sectors.

“The Indices for India and Brazil are broadly in line with those for the lower-scoring G7 countries (Italy 68, Germany 69 and Japan 70), while those for Russia and China are much lower,” said the KANTAR report released on Wednesday. India ranks at 67, where higher the ranking on the index, the more acceptable is the country towards both men and women in leadership positions.

The 2019 Reykjavik Index for Leadership also measures acceptability across various sectors. The findings suggest India’s acceptability of both men and women in leadership positions for defence is higher than the global average. India’s index for defence and police was at 68, higher than the overall index of G7 countries, which was at 62.

As part of the survey, KANTAR asked a sample of 5,000 respondents in rural and urban India, how comfortable they would feel with a woman as head of government, and as a chief executive officer of a major company.

In India, 39 per cent of the sample said ‘very comfortable’ for a woman heading the government, higher than 34 per cent who replied with ‘very comfortable’ for a woman company head. However, men are less acceptable of such appointments. Interestingly, less than half of the women survey showed the highest level of acceptability for a woman heading the government or a major company.  

India, however, ranks higher in its overall acceptability of both genders as leaders in government and politics. "India, which has had a female Prime Minister (Indira Gandhi with two terms of office 1966-1977 and 1980-1984) and a female president (Pratibha Patil – 2007-2012), has an index score of 74 for this sector. Currently, 14 per cent of members of the Indian parliament are women," the report said.

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