Jun 25, 2015

    Singapore 'lags' for women in boardroom roles

    WHEN it comes to women holding boardroom positions, Singapore lags behind the world.

    Women hold 9 per cent of board seats here, worse than the worldwide figure of 12 per cent.

    But 7 per cent of board chairmen here are women, higher than the current global figure of 4 per cent.

    This is according to the fourth edition of The Women In The Boardroom: A Global Perspective by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu (Deloitte Global).

    In Singapore, there are currently no gender quotas for women on boards or in senior management positions.

    The energy and resources industry has the most women on its boards (14 per cent) and women usually hold positions on the boards' audit committees.

    "In South-east Asia, the percentage of board seats held by women does not cross the 10 per cent mark for each country, which is way behind the European economies, with Norway topping at 36.7 per cent," said David Chew, head of Deloitte Southeast Asia's Centre of Corporate Governance.

    "The likely contributors to this are the traditional barriers that women have to overcome and insufficient family support."

    He added that the percentages in South-east Asia, "although very much lower than the other more mature world economies", are only for listed entities.

    "Privately held companies have a higher percentage of women at decision-making roles and boards. As these companies grow to become listed entities and the evolution of societal norms, we can expect to see more women playing an active role at the senior management and board levels," he said.

    European countries continue to lead in gender diversity in the boardroom, with Norway, France, Sweden and Italy all ranking high. Regionally, countries in the Americas and the Asia-Pacific have progressed the least.

    According to the report, the regional breakdown of women chairmen is: Europe, Middle East and Africa (5 per cent), the Americas (4 per cent) and Asia-Pacific (4 per cent).