Malaysia has proved once again that it is one of the best countries in the Asia Pacific when it comes to gender diversity in its workforce.
The nation was one of three countries in Asia Pacific who showed significant improvement in broadening women representation on boards across the companies, according to a recent Korn Ferry report.
The report examined the largest 100 publicly listed companies’ 2014 annual reports in 10 Asia Pacific economies, including Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea.
It found that Malaysia saw the largest year-on-year increase in female representation in the region, from 8.3% to 12.5%.
These results, the report highlighted, reflected the success of the nation’s governmental programmes to increase gender diversity.
“Although it fell short of its target of 30% female representation by 2016, Malaysia is the only country in the study to have implemented such a target and provided active support for companies to reach the goal,” the report stated.
On a whole however, the report concluded women still remain under-represented across Asia Pacific boards, with most countries showing little or no progress.
Women made up 10.2% of all directors in this study, up from 9.4% in 2013 and 8.0% in 2012. Only three out of ten countries showed substantial improvement, including Australia, Malaysia and India.
Australia, in fact, continued to be the best performing country in the region.
With 21.9% female board members among the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX)-listed companies, it was found to be the only economy in this survey with over 20% of women on boards.
At the bottom of the gender diversity rankings were South Korea and Japan with 2.6% and 3.3% female board members respectively, followed by Singapore at 7.7%.
“When we speak of board diversity and steps to improve the landscape, there is no doubt that the Government has a very crucial role to play in this scheme of things. Most countries reviewed in this study showed little or no improvement,” Navnit Singh, chairman and managing director of India for Korn Ferry International explained.
“However, India, Australia and Malaysia have recently seen regulatory action or governmental support for promoting board diversity.”