Firms listed here have more women directors now but lag global average
But number still lower than global average
Singapore-listed companies have more female directors but are still behind the global average, according to an annual report by the provider of a widely followed stock market index.
Women account for 18.4 per cent of board members in the 26 Singapore-listed constituents of the MSCI All Country World Index (ACWI) this year.
This marks a strong increase from 13.7 per cent last year but is still short of the 20 per cent average of all the companies on the index.
MSCI reviewed the boards and executive management structures of 2,765 companies that constitute the MSCI ACWI for its report.
The 26 Singapore-listed firms in the index include large caps such as DBS Group Holdings, OCBC Bank, United Overseas Bank, Singtel and CapitaLand, among others.
Some 23.1 per cent of Singapore companies on the MSCI ACWI had three or more women on their boards, below the average of 36.2 per cent, the report said.
But when it came to top management positions, the Republic fared better - 7.7 per cent of the Singapore companies had a female chief executive, more than the average of 4.3 per cent.
Meanwhile, 30.8 per cent of Singapore companies had a female chief financial officer as against the index average of 12.5 per cent.
Overall, the report showed a pronounced increase in the percentage of women on boards globally - from 17.9 per cent last year to 20 per cent this year, said MSCI.
MSCI's findings are in line with earlier reports showing that while Singapore has improved on its gender balance, it still has far to go to achieve the 20 per cent target set by the Government for women directors.
The most recent figures released by the Council for Board Diversity in September found that women make up just 15.7 per cent of board members in the top 100 primary-listed companies by market capitalisation on the Singapore Exchange. As of June this year, they occupied 134 of the 854 directorships on offer in those companies.
The marginal increase of 0.5 percentage point in the first half of this year also raised doubts on whether the council's target of hitting 20 per cent, or about 171 directorships, by the end of next year could be achieved.
MSCI's report also noted that the lack of qualified women to fill director positions has been one of the most common misconceptions used to explain, if not justify, the lack of gender diversity among executives and directors.