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“Flipping the Script” – women push back over being underutilised on HK boards

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In her last policy address, chief executive Carrie Lam emphasised the need for more women on the boards of Hong Kong companies after research found that only 13% of directors among the Hang Seng Index (HSI) companies are female, and as many as one third of listed companies have all-male boards.

To raise public awareness of this gender inequality, 30% Club HK and The Women’s Foundation released a video titled “Flipping the Script” that was influenced by a similar film by the Australian Institute of Company Directors and 30% Club in Australia.

The video, one in Cantonese and another in English, features three female business leaders in Hong Kong, who purposely pose stereotypical, biased and irrelevant questions that women often get asked in board interviews in Hong Kong, but “flip the script” by satirically asking these questions to men.

Portraying the interviewers were Susanna Hui, executive director and group managing director of HKT; Teresa Ko, China chairman and partner of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer; and Irene Lee, chairman of Hysan Development Company and chair of 30% Club Hong Kong.

Lee expressed that Hong Kong has a deep pool of talented women, and that greater gender diversity on Hong Kong boards would benefit businesses, as well as Hong Kong.

Fiona Nott, CEO of The Women’s Foundation, said: “Hong Kong still lags far behind other global financial centres with female directors comprising 29% in UK and 30% in Australia. Hong Kong’s progress has stalled with only 13% of female directors in HSI companies despite the strong business case that shows that gender diverse boards and management teams are good for business.”

The video highlights the barriers women face in career advancement, and is expected to inspire debate that will lead to sustainable change in Hong Kong, according to Nott.

Watch the video here

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