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Women on boards: How Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia fare

When it comes to gender diversity in the boardroom, the reality remains that women are largely under-represented on corporate boards, and the progress to change this trend continues to be slow.

This was reflected in Deloitte Global's sixth Women in Boardroom: A Global Perspective report released yesterday (31 October), which showed that women hold just 16.9% of board seats globally.

As compared to immediate past edition of this report, released in 2017, this year's report saw a 1.9% increase in women-held seats.

While gender diversity is generally improving across Asia, the report found that the region still trails the global trend - in particular, women hold 9.3% of board seats in Asia (2016: 7.8%), versus 16.9% globally.

As for board chair positions, women currently fill 4.2% of such positions in Asia (2016: 2.6%), while 5.3% of board chair positions are held by women globally.

Zooming in on specific countries in Asia - Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand, the data is as follows:

Singapore: Progress despite no quotas for women serving on boards

In Singapore, women hold 13.7% of board seats and 5.8% of board chairs positions, compared to 10.7% and 5.4% respectively in 2016.

Further, the average tenure of women as board members and chairs are five and 6.7 years respectively, and the average age of women as board members is 57.5 years, compared to 61.5 years for board chairs.

While there are no quotas in place for women serving on boards, other initiatives have been introduced help to ensure diversity in the workplace.

For instance, under the country's Code of Corporate Governance, updated in 2018, company boards are required to have a suitable mix of skills and experience, including diversity of gender and age.

Apart from this, companies are also required to have a diversity policy, and disclose the policy, its objectives, and implementation progress in the annual report.

Singapore's industries with the highest percentage of women on boards

Leading the pack is the technology, media & telecommunications industry, with 21.6% of board seats taken up by women. Following behind are financial services (15%), energy & resources (13.7%), consumer business (11.1%), and lastly, manufacturing (9.2%).

Priya-Oct-2019-Deloitte-women-on-boards-Indonesia-screengrab

Infographics / Deloitte Global's sixth Women in Boardroom: A Global Perspective report

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