India is experiencing its very own form of March Madness. Some 451 companies there are scrambling to find female directors for their corporate boards. And they have just two weeks to pull off the incredible feat. The Securities And Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the nation’s market regulator, mandated a little over a year ago that listed companies are required to have at least one woman director on boards. Since then, companies have gone about appointing more female executives in order to be compliant. But according to data obtained by a capital markets information provider, as of March 15, many companies have failed to meet this clause, the deadline for which is April 1. Jayant Sinha, minister of state for finance, said that market regulators will take “necessary action” against companies that neglect to comply, but there is speculation and uncertainty as to what the action might entail. Plus, some companies are strategically appointing female family members to boards as an easier route to adhering to the mandate. Others are even appointing the same women directors on multiple boards. Either way, the clock is ticking.
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