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Partners Column

April 2, 2014

Dear Friends,

I am writing to you in the context of the International Women’s Day which was recently celebrated on 8th March all over the world.

It is a day to inspire women and promote the cause of social equality. Women since time immemorial has powers to bring a change. Women not only fought against all odds but also overcame challenges to emerge as winners. History is replete with examples of courageous women like Lakshmibai, Indira Gandhi, Hellen Keller and so on.

Here are some statistics which I wish to share and the initiatives taken in the interest of women.

Presently, the women Population in India is 591.4 Million out of which 53.7% women are literate amounting to 317.58 Million. The working women population in India is 48.37 million which is a meagre 8.18% of total women population.

Opening of India’s First all Women Bank

Women's bank was started by the Government of India as a Public Sector Undertaking with the initial capital of Rs.1000 Crore.

It has been described as a bank for the women, by the women and of the women.

The main motive of the bank is to encourage women entrepreneurs and to finance Self Help Groups of women.

The Finance minister has also announced a planned investment of Rs. 8500 Crore for women specific schemes.

Nirbhaya fund will be created for the women who have been suffered with the sexual assault and for upliftment of women.

Change in law after the Delhi Mob Case

Juvenile age for minors has been decreased from 18 years to 16 years.

Punishment for gang rape has been made a Life imprisonment which was earlier 7 yrs.

The scope of law relating to various offences against women has been increased.

Ban on politics with the Criminal records in elections.

The profiles of the Rapists is to be made public.

Women Empowerment – Is it a facade?

The word Women empowerment has just been a word of public use. It's still an illusion. Women empowerment should consist of encouraging women to participate rather than taunting the world to increase the presence of women in them.

I believe that women reservation sets an example to show that women are weak. Reservations are meant to people who are not capable of doing something on their own. Until reservation persists a woman cannot consider herself equal to man. The basic necessity behind the so called “Gender Equality” is hampered. A women reservation cannot be considered as a women empowerment.

A luxury which will come easy, will go easy. A women director appointed as per reservation by the board may or may not be treated in the same way as with the rest of directors as she might be considered as a liability for compliance of law.

Contribution of Women

However, in the present times, women are more empowered and aware of their rights and the society has accepted their stand. The society is changing and paving way for the growth of the women. The new decade has seen a marked change in attitude towards women at large. Women have made strides in every field like business, politics, space exploration etc., In today’s corporate world, powerful women leaders like Chanda Kochhar, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Indra Nooyi to name a few are the best examples of women who have empowered themselves and are heading some of the major business houses and their contributions are well recognised.

To make women equal in status one must bring a change in perception of the people on the whole. Encourage women to get educated, join employment, start their own business, join leadership roles and then get their name. As rightly said by some of the progressive groups, instead of focussing on instruments of security such as the police, there needs to be a transformation inside the home, in schools and in communities to appreciate and give respect to all the women.

Update on the regulatory front:

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has further notified 183 sections on 26th march 2014 to become applicable from 1st April 2014. With this total 283 sections and Schedules I Ito VI have been notified. With the notification of aforesaid sections, the relevant rules are also being notified as most of them are dependent on rules. The sections remaining to be notified are related to National Financial Reporting Authority, Investor and Education Protection Fund, Compromise and arrangement, oppression and mismanagement, winding up, sick companies, special courts, and national company law tribunal. Majority of these sections are not notified due to pending case in Supreme Court with respect to the National Company Law Tribunal.

The Companies Act, 2013 is a milestone event for the Indian Corporates’ and will have far reaching consequences. We professionals and the company stakeholders will have to gear up to face the challenge of understanding the Act and its implications on the Company.

Best Regards,
Rashida Adenwala

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