The Diversity Action Committee is urging companies to improve gender diversity or “risk undermining Singapore’s reputation as a leading business hub”
Presenting their findings to the minister for social and family development, Tan Chuan-Jin, last week, the DAC said that women’s representation on boards have increased by 21% since 2012, reaching 10% as of June this year – up 2% from last year – while the number of all-male boards declined by 11%.
To put this in perspective, The Straits Times reported that in Britain there is a 22% female representation while Hong Kong has 13% female representation.
The DAC said that although the numbers in Singapore are “promising”, the pace of progress is still very slow and gave five recommendations on how they see this improving:
1) The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) should strengthen the Code of Corporate Governance by requiring companies to disclose gender diversity policies and the progress they have made;
2) For companies to disclose diversity policies in their annual reports;
3) For shareholders to monitor progress and for MAS to consider stronger actions against companies that do not respond;
4) For companies to adopt best practices for board nomination and appointment, such as requiring recruitment to present both male and female candidates, among others;
5) For companies to develop an executive pipeline paying particular attention to female candidates and incorporating board training in their learning and development programs.
“I urge stakeholders to consider DAC’s recommendations to raise women’s representation on Singapore boards,” said Tan.
“Women bring with them different perspectives which can bring about more robust and dynamic governance in companies.
“These companies perform better, ultimately benefiting our economy as a whole.”
Outgoing DAC chairman Magnus Böcker added that with today’s ever changing pace of business, more varied skills and experience are needed in the boardroom.
“Bringing the best talents and diverse perspectives to the boardroom is no longer an option but a conscious effort made by a far-sighted company,” he said.
“This will support a sustained growth for the company in the long run.”
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