The ongoing management saga at the Tata group—Cyrus Mistry was abruptly removed as chair in October—and speculation that PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi is a candidate to replace him are putting a spotlight on the issue of board diversity in Asia. (PepsiCo did not immediately return my request for comment on the report.) Tata, a giant conglomerate, has never had a female chair before and there are only a handful of chairwomen of Indian companies.
India passed a law in 2013 that requires all large listed companies to have at least one female director on their boards. That rule has boosted women’s share of directorships from 4% to 14%, according to India’s National Stock Exchange. But there’s concern that some of the increase is due to families appointing female relatives to the boards of companies they control.
That phenomenon epitomizes a big criticism of quotas; that they encourage the promotion of women based on the need to fill token spots rather than merit.
To make real progress in adding women to boards, companies the world over need to address the underlying issues—discrimination, cultural stigma, access to paid maternity leave and affordable childcare—that factor into women’s absence on boards in the first place.
|Liberal Democrat Sarah Olney has won a spot in the U.K. Parliament after defeating pro-Brexit incumbent Zac Goldsmith in a by-election that Goldsmith triggered in an attempt to protest PM Theresa May’s approval of Heathrow airport’s expansion. Instead, the vote turned into a surprise rebuke of May’s “hard Brexit” approach. Olney will be her party’s only female member in the House of Commons.|
|No Melania cake for you|
|Slovenians are trying to make a buck off the increased notoriety of their native daughter, Melania Trump. Entrepreneurs in her home town of 4,900 are eagerly hawking items like “Melania cake” and honey from “Melania’s home garden” to tourists. But the soon-to-be first lady is cracking down on the practice. She hired a local law firm to warn people against using her name and likeness for commercial purposes without consent.|
|Of Afghanistan’s 160,000 police officers, only 3,000 are women. The nation is trying to attract more, but policing there is dangerous due to a growing Taliban insurgency, plus women face the additional threat of public persecution.|
|Trump’s climate champion?|
|During the presidential campaign, soon-to-be First Daughter Ivanka Trump spoke publicly about her father’s agenda for working women and families. But Politico, citing an anonymous source, says Trump also wants to make climate change—which her father has called a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese—one of her signature issues. Given her even-keeled demeanor, her involvement in that area could ease some Americans’ fears that her father will gut environmental protections.|
|In the driver’s seat|
|Rachel Holt, the head of North America operations at Uber, moonlights as an Uber driver, she told the audience at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit on Wednesday. Holt has taken rides from the car-hailing service ”thousands and thousands” of times, she said, but getting behind the wheel was an entirely different experience. “[Y]ou learn where the pain points are,” she said. “You learn what’s stressful.”|
|Mom v. meme|
|After a “Men for Donald Trump” group used a photo of her 4-year-old daughter and Hillary Clinton to create a disgusting meme, Jennifer Jones decided to fight back. She first convinced the original group to remove the photo and then enlisted the ranks of the pro-Clinton “Pantsuit Nation” Facebook group for help. Eventually, the Anti-Defamation League issued take-down notices to the originating sites and, soon after, the meme disappeared online.|
|Marrying multiple men|
|China is enduring a prolonged bachelor glut with 33 million more men than it has women to marry them. The problem—caused, in part, by the nation’s former one-child policy that prompted families to favor boys—won’t ease for decades. The last time China had this quandary in the 18th and 19th centuries rural women took two (or sometimes more) husbands.|
|As chairman and CEO of Tractors and Farm Equipment Limited, a family-run business in India, Mallika Srinivasan oversees the third-largest tractor firm in the world. A women in a male-dominated business, she says she gained acceptance from the outside world quicker than she did within her own extended family. The key to excelling in such a setting is to be “one notch” above men in every regard, she said. “You have to know your subject a lot better, and then that earns you the respect.”|
|She says she was harassed by superiors. Now she protests outside the TSA for hours|
|Model Irina Shayk walked the Victoria’s Secret fashion show while pregnant|
|Women from Northern Ireland could soon be allowed free abortions in Scotland|
|A Chinese piano prodigy is lighting up the Internet with her rendition of Mozart’s Turkish March|
|Meet Tinder’s in-house sociologist|
|Actress Jessica Chastain on ambition and male costars who are paid ‘seven times’ her salary|