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The world has been caught up in the whirlwind of the #MeToo movement. Social issues such as gender equality, female empowerment, racial and ethnic diversity are on everyone’s lips. Companies are cautious towards these topics. Many have reinforced some kind of diversity and inclusive policies in their workplaces.
In Hong Kong, Community Business’ latest annual research has revealed women represented on boards in companies on the Hang Seng Index increased 0.1% in the preceding year, and the number of female directors went from 87 to 85 out of a total of 611 directorships.
Research has yet to confirm whether gender is the sole factor that hinders the growth of female board representation in Hong Kong. Even the popular human resources concept “levelling” is intrinsically subjective.
While a workforce with diverse personalities can contribute to a high-functioning workplace, human resources leaders need to be vigilant when embracing multiculturalism or females at work to avoid reverse discrimination. Without proper communication from both sides, imposing gender quotas on senior leadership positions as a tit-fortat reprisal can further erode the gulf between women and men or be manoeuvred to a token gesture. While multiculturalism can boost creativity and bolster innovation, conflicts can evolve as has been shown in the US, a multicultural country, or Europe, which has exposed itself to large scale migration from other continents in recent years.
Hence, it is incumbent for companies which aspire to be a melting pot of a diversified workforce to take note of the thorny issues of diversity, and make sure their talent policies are based on an employee’s capability, instead of external dynamics
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