More women take up key leadership positions in Singapore

More women were appointed to the boards of statutory boards, companies and Institutions of Public Character (IPCs) in 2020.
By: | April 14, 2021

Singapore’s Council for Board Diversity (CBD) said women’s inclusion on boards showed the most improvement in statutory boards, followed by companies and then IPCs. 

The proportion of women on boards for statutory boards was 27.5% at the end of last year, increasing 2.4 percentage points compared with that at the end of 2019.  

The top-100 companies by market capitalisation on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) had female board representation of 17.6%, showing an increment of 1.4 percentage points. 

By donation receipts, the top-100 IPCs achieved a rate of 28.8%, improving by 1 percentage point. 

About a third of statutory boards, 16% of the top 100 companies and almost half of the top 100 IPCs currently have 30% or more female board members. 

In 2019, the CBD’s goal for statutory boards and IPCs was set at 30% “as soon as possible”. For companies, the goal was set at 20% by the end of last year, 25% by 2025 and 30% by 2030. The CBD’s long-term ambition is for all boards to achieve an equal proportion of men and women. 

SGX chief executive Loh Boon Chye, who co-chairs the CBD, said: “Board diversity, a recognised hallmark of progressive boards even before COVID-19, is more critical now than before. Post-pandemic recovery offers opportunities for innovation and business repositioning.

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“Having directors with a wider mix of gender, age, skills, experiences and backgrounds allows boards the broad-based choices as they assess what is best for the future.” 

The CBD has called on companies to give more women the opportunity to become first-time directors, as a lack of prior board experience “should not be a stumbling block to appointing well-qualified candidates with business or specialist experience”, reported The Straits Times.