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More women in Singapore boardrooms last year: Report

This article is more than 12 months old

Boardroom diversity has improved slightly in Singapore and worldwide, although women are still drastically under-represented on corporate boards.

A new report has uncovered a telling trend: Put women in top corporate roles and female board seat numbers will soar.

Women here held 10.7 per cent of board seats last year, up 1.7 percentage points from 2015, showed the Women In The Boardroom report released yesterday by consultancy firm Deloitte.

But the number of women board chairmen fell by 1.6 percentage points to 5.4 per cent.

Globally, women held 15 per cent of board seats, a rise of 3 percentage points from 2015. But they held only 4 per cent of top leadership roles, such as board chairmen and chief executive officers.

The latest report compiled data covering nearly 7,000 firms in 44 countries.

It found that firms with female leaders have almost double the number of board seats held by women, compared with male leadership.

Norway, the first country to introduce a gender quota of 40 per cent for both sexes on boards of listed companies, boasted the highest percentage of board seats held by women - 42 per cent.

Of the 1,626 companies studied in Asia, 7.8 per cent of board seats were occupied by women, well below 22.6 per cent in Europe.

The PAP Women's Wing and the Singapore Council of Women's Organisations arm BoardAgender made a proposal this year to the Monetary Authority of Singapore to double the proportion of women on boards to 20 per cent by 2020.

Deloitte Singapore Centre for Corporate Governance co-leader Seah Gek Choo said: "As markets become more sophisticated... diversity has become nothing less than a business value."