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The Impact of Employment of Women on ESG Scores

Women are an important aspect of the society and corporates. As per the ESG guidelines disclosures have to be made forEnvironmental, Social and Governance aspect. ESG scores reflect the quality of these disclosure. Diversity and Inclusion form an essential aspect of such reporting whereby the representation of women employees in corporates is reflected. Representation of women must be a deliberate effort by the corporates not only it is essential for wellbeing of the society but because it improves ESG scores and attracts investors and in the long run the value of the organisation. Objective: The objective of this research is to find out women's representation in corporate. To study prevailing employment practices of corporate especially with respect to women To study the impact of women employees on corporate sustainability, performance and value Keywords: Women Employees, BRR, ESG, ESG scores, Diversity and Inclusion.

A study by the International Finance Corporation reveals that private-sector players are increasingly partnering in international initiatives that identify best practices and practical approaches that companies can implement to improve women's inclusion in governance and the economy—not only because it is the right thing to do but also makes business sense (Gender Equality, Infrastructure and PPPs A PRIMER 2 Gender Equality, Infrastructure and PPPs, 2019). According to a World Bank Group report, increasing local women's engagement in projects can lead to increased firm productivity and help private companies innovate, grow, and perform better(WORLD BANK GROUP Gender Equality, Poverty Reduction, and Inclusive Growth, n.d.). According to McKinsey, companies that have more gender diversity are 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability (Hunt et al., 2018). Hiring women is good because the companies have access to a pool of talent who will herald innovation and productivity, who have multi-tasking abilities, have superior people and soft skills, are empathetic and hence less likely to be in conflict.

ESG which stands for Environment, Social and Governance forms an important factor of sustainability reporting. ESG reporting is compulsory in India in the form of Business Responsibility Reporting (BRR). According to the findings of the CRISIL ESG compendium, investors take ESG reporting as an important risk management tool and study it in detail before making their investment decisions. Under BRR Principle 3 stands for reporting on how businesses should promote the wellbeing of all employees which records the total number of employees and the total number of women employees. It is important that the companies should realise that having more women employees onboard is not for a matter of tick in the box or a Business Responsibility Reporting practice, but is important for the growth, value and competitive advantage of the company.

CRISIL has come up with ESG score which finds out the track record, trends and disclosures by companies to provide a relative, assessment on all material ESG parameters relevant in the Indian context based on information available in public domain wherein the score is assigned on a scale of 1- 100, with 100 denoting the best-in-class ESG performance in which the evaluation analyses three annual reporting cycles through fiscal 2020.

So, having more women employees is important to corporate sustainability practices, overall performance and long-term value of the company as is reflected in the ESG score of the company

Literature review

According to WBCSD Sustainable Development Reporting can help the companies by evaluation of corporate performance in environmental, social and economic terms (Heemskerk et al., n.d.). There is evidence of a willingness to engage and communicate clearly the results of sustainability strategies to interested stakeholders and overall, there appears to be a developing acceptance amongst large corporations that efforts towards improved corporate sustainability are not only expected but are of value to the business (Klettner et al., 2014). Sustainability Development Reporting can also be called as ESG reporting ie., Environmental, Social and Governance Reporting. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs released the National Voluntary Guidelines on Social, Environmental and Economic Responsibility of Business (NVG-SEE) in July, 2011 which includes nine core principles thus making ESG reporting compulsory in India. As per Census 2011, India's population was 121.06 Cr and the females constituted 48.5% of it. In 2011, the sex ratio (number of females per 1000 males) at all India level was 943 and the same for rural and urban areas are 949 and 929 respectively (Vikaspedia-Status of women in India). However, the fifth edition of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) confirmed signs of a demographic shift in India. For the first time since the NFHS began in 1992, the proportion of women exceeded men: there were 1,020 women for 1,000 men(Ministry of Health and Family Welfare India Fact Sheet, n.d.). Sustainable Development Goals 5 of the United Nations Agenda 2030 that is devoted to “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”. The World Economic Forum states that gender equality is not just the concern of half of the world's population; it is a human right, a concern for us all, because no society can develop – economically, politically, or socially – when half of its population is marginalized.Recent research by Bloomberg Economics estimates that “if women's education and employment levels were the same as men, the global GDP would increase by $20 trillion in 2050”. It also states that “70-80 % of the consumer purchases are made by women”. Very few women are in boards of directors despite the views of diversity and inclusiveness supported in the professional and academic literature and since women out-number men, population-wise diversity in business is important as after all, it serves the clients and the customers who are part of business (Pareek et al., 2021). From the empirical evidence the authors found association between increasing the female employees ration and reduction in tax avoidance, they found that by increasing the ratio of female employees a company can improve its sustainability in terms of tax avoidance by forming a risk-averse and conservative corporate environment (Rhee et al., 2020). Research has established that the relationship between Managers' individual dynamic capabilities (IDC) with the social commitment of the manager is greater when the company's leader is a woman (BuilFabregà et al., 2017). According to the authors the presence of women in top positions and the implementation of sustainable activities improve both the financial performance and value of the company (Bannò et al., 2021).


The secondary sample for the study is of the companies listed in NSE for the year 2017-18, 2018- 19, 2019-2020 and CRISILESG compendium for the average of the three years. The basis of the study is secondary data from Annual reports, Sustainability Reports, ESG reports, Business Responsibility Reports, IFC Primer, World Bank Report etc. Eighteen Companies from IT and financial sectors have been chosen as sample representatives.

Theoretical construct:

Though it is obvious that ESG and its reporting is growingly important to corporations there is very little information on integrated, uniform, comparable and explicit data about ESG especially on how the companies are performing on that account. One such initiative by CRISIL due to their access to databases has been available on the public domain. This paper takes Eighteen Companies from the IT and financial sectors and studies the representation of women employees among total employees of the companies

As can be seen from the Table 1 Eighteen companies have been taken for study comprising mainly of IT and Financial sector.

TABLE 3 - Data on Women Employees

Table 3 reflects the number of women employed as compared to the total number of employees. As can be seen from the data there is low representation of women employees as compared to the total number of employees in the organisations.

As can be seen in Table 4 higher the percentage of women in the organisation, higher is the ESG score. ESG information might be valued by investors because of its ability to give information on risks that are not traditional and is helpful in evaluating and comparing the “quality” of management in portfolio companies but most importantly there is a growing movement to integrate ESG into mainstream investing, with Millennials—and particularly Millennial women—showing especially strong support (Ailman et al., 2017).

Having understood the impact women on the value of corporates some of the ways their representation can be increased are as follows:

1. More representation of women at top level: Corporates have to take steps to break the glass ceiling and encourage more opportunities for women in the managerial especially in the board of the company.

2. Increasing percentage of women being employed: Conscious efforts must be taken to ensure hiring of women. The hiring must be based on merit and should not be influenced by preconceived notions and prejudices against women.

3. Mentor/sponsorship program: Members of senior management should act as mentors and adopt individual women employees to groom and train them for career growth. Sponsorship program must be encouraged to motivate women employees to take up bigger challenges.

4. Training and development/Employee awareness programs: Continuous training and development programs should be arranged specifically for women employees to ensure their updating of latest knowledge and upskilling. Steps should be taken to increase employee awareness on various issues like POSH (Prevention of Sexual Harassment)

5. Flexible working hours: Flexible work arrangements should be made for women employees without them losing on the benefits and privileges of full-time work

6. Remote working arrangement: Covid 19 has not only proved that that remote work is possible but has thrown up a lot of opportunities for the same and so it should be continued for women employees wherever possible.

7. Onsite/nearsite child care support: One of the main reasons for women employees leaving the workforce is lack of childcare support especially when their children are young. So wherever possible onsite child care support or tie up with nearsite child care support should be provided in the form or nursery/daycare facilities

8. Second careerprograms: Corporates can hire women with previous corporate experience who had to take a career break due to some compulsions. They can encourage and incorporate them by re-skilling and counseling them.

9. Maternity/Paid sabbaticals: One of the main reasons for women leaving the workforce is due to birth of a child or taking care of sick parent. Paid sabbaticals during such time will help to retain women employees.


The study reveals that there is no uniformity in reporting about such an important component of the labour workforce. Some companies have a very transparent disclosure of the details of women employed while some companies have given minimum details as to only the number of women employees. There is very less representation of women in Corporate India


The contribution to knowledge in this paper is that though women represent half of the population of our country their representation in corporate is very much lacking. Women are an important aspect of society and are influencers in buying products and services. Uniformity in reporting practices will help us understand the impact of women employees on corporate sustainability and whether it varies. Though some papers talk about impact of women in board in sustainability there is no research on impact of women employees on sustainability in India.

Limitations of the study:

Only two sectors and eighteen companies have been taken here for study due to time constraints. The study can be extended to more companies and sectors.


Gender Equality, Infrastructure and PPPs A PRIMER 2 Gender Equality, Infrastructure and PPPs. (2019).

WORLD BANK GROUP Gender Equality, Poverty Reduction, and Inclusive Growth. (n.d.).  Hunt, V., Prince, S., Dixon-Fyle, S., & Yee, L. (2018). Delivering through Diversity Contents Executive summary.

Hunt, V., Prince, S., Dixon-Fyle, S., & Yee, L. (2018). Delivering through Diversity Contents Executive summary.

Vikaspedia: Status of Women in India

Heemskerk, B., Group, R., Stmicroelectronics, P. P., & Scicluna, M. (n.d.). Striking the balance Sustainable development reporting.

Bannò, M., Filippi, E., & Trento, S. (2021). Women in top echelon positions and their effects on sustainability: a review, synthesis and future research agenda. Journal of Management and Governance. 021-09604-7

Pareek, R., Sahu, T. N., & Gupta, A. (2021). Gender diversity and corporate sustainability performance: empirical evidence from India. Vilakshan - XIMB Journal of Management.

Buil-Fabregà, M., Alonso-Almeida, M. del M., & Bagur-Femenías, L. (2017). Individual dynamic managerial capabilitiesInfluence over environmental and social commitment under a gender perspective. Journal of Cleaner Production, 151, 371–379.

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare India Fact Sheet. (n.d.).

Klettner, A., Clarke, T., & Boersma, M. (2014). The Governance of Corporate Sustainability: Empirical Insights into the Development, Leadership and Implementation of Responsible Business Strategy. Journal of Business Ethics, 1 2 2 ( 1 ) , 1 4 5 – 1 6 5 .

Rhee, C. S., Woo, S., & Kim, D. H. (2020). The effect of female employment on corporate sustainability in terms of tax avoidance. Sustainabilit y (Switz e rland), 12(1).

Ailman, C., Edkins, M., Mitchem, K., Eliopoulos, T., & Guillot, J. (2017). The Next Wave of ESG Integration: Lessons from Institutional Investors. Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, 29(2), 32–43.

Ms. Kanthi Viswanath, Assistant Professor, Vivekanand Education Societies College of Arts, Science & Commerce,
Dr. Nirmala Joshi, Research Head, MET Institute of Management, Mumbai

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