India Inc. has more women in its workforce but a fraction of them make it to senior roles, says a new study.

According to the Zinnov-Intel India Gender Diversity Benchmark, women make 38% of junior level and 20% of mid-level jobs but only 11% in senior roles.

Overall representation of women in the corporate sector, according to the study, has increased to 30% from 21% five years ago. They account for 31% of non-technical roles and 26% of technical roles despite gender diversity programmes run by companies.

“Enabling science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) career options for young women, supporting women-led startups, and encouraging other women entrepreneurs are some of the more impactful initiatives that organisations need to actively look at,” Pari Natarajan, CEO, Zinnov said.

Sixty companies including global capability centres (GCCs), technology service providers, and startups in India took part in the study.

Bengaluru has the highest gender diversity at the workplace, with women making up 34% of the workforce, followed by Mumbai (33%) and Pune (32%). They account for 31% of the total workforce in tier 1 cities and 25% in tier 2 cities.

Big companies were found to be more inclusive, as women made 33% of their workforce. The number was slightly lower (27%) for mid-sized companies and small companies (21%). Interestingly, global multinationals (MNC) reported their rolls had 25% women, while Indian MNCs fared better with 31%.

The report says most companies surveyed have been running diversity programmes for many years, helping them make progress. “However, the numbers have still failed to move the needle: the big leap is missing,” it adds.

The number of women on company boards, however, has increased from 5% in 2012 to 13% in 2018 owing to the government mandate on having at least one woman on every company’s board.

“To make significant progress in the inclusion of women in the workplace, companies across the board need to align on a few common priorities and themes,” the report adds.

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