In India, the new Companies Bill passed the upper house of Parliament. The bill requires that every listed company appoint at least one-third of the total number of directors as independent directors for a maximum of two terms of three years each. A certain class of companies will be required to have at least one female director. Furthermore, directors are barred from holding more than 10 directorships in publicly traded firms.
The bill also contains provisions giving shareholders the right to file class-action suits and sets up a National Company Law Tribunal as a first step in the judicial process for investors harmed by mismanagement or fraud.
The law also calls on large companies to form a board-level corporate social responsibility committee comprised of three or more directors, at least one of whom must be independent. The committee is responsible for a company’s corporate social responsibility policy, and it must report on how the company executes on the policy.
The Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) has calculated an index of companies with strong “female empowerment” practices that has outperformed the benchmark TOPIX index. The index was calculated using the highest scoring companies based on the empowerment of women. The index of companies with strong female empowerment outperformed the TOPIX index by more than 7%.