Gender Diversification on Singapore Boards

Singapore is one country that serves as an ideal tourist destination and also has a lot of investment and employment opportunities for foreigners. Foreigners must have proper documentation that proves their reason for stay or visit in this country. Those who are looking forward to getting employed in Singapore are required to get the ep pass which also adds up as the work visa.

Singapore’s corporate sector has been on the spot over the recent years mainly because most companies do not observe gender balance when it comes to the allocation of slots in their boards. Recently, the Diversity Action Committee (DAC) whose main aim is to address the lower representation of women in most Singapore panels, set a target of 20% representation of women in the boards of listed companies which is to be met by 2020. The goal, which was established in 2016 when female representation in most listed companies was at about 9.7% has witnessed slow improvements.

According to findings released in January 2018, about 12% of women hold several board seats in the top 100 listed companies in Singapore. The latest findings by the Diversity Action Committee shows some slight improvement with the number of female representation on panels of top 100 SGX-listed firms standing at 14.7% which is different from the previous 12.2%. This shows that around 33 out of the top 100 indexed firms have more than 20 percent female representation on their panels.
The slight improvements in Singapore’s boardroom diversity have been taken positively although many still believe that there is no fair or balanced representation of women. The goal set by Diversity Action Committee can be achieved if companies commit to the course. Grace Fu Hai Yen, who is Singapore’s Culture, Community and Youth Minister suggested that an extra 130 female directors should be appointed each year from the moment she spoke, that is January 2018 up to 2020 for the DAC goal to be achieved.

Action Plan

Apart from the different suggestions by some of Singapore’s top leaders, several things are being implemented to promote gender diversification on Singapore boards. Companies now have to present a list of board members which shows the number of women on their panel, the positions they hold and their overall percentage of representation. In what can be referred to as name and shame tactic, those with a higher female representation will be listed top. The Diversity Action Committee also engages with the decision makers in most companies in a bid to enhance gender diversification on their boards. They even at one time suggested that each firm should come clear on the guidelines set for board diversity.

DAC also proposed that independent directors should serve for a limited tenure to give room for changes. They believe that this will create the chance for women to hold top positions in the different companies. Several mentorship programs have also been launched to empower women. Companies that are participating in such programs are required to nominate a woman in within their senior ranks. Aspiring women directors can also be part of the mentorship program. Putting all this into action will ensure that the 2020 boardroom diversity goal has been achieved.

Thanks to Ethan Clark

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