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Gender quotas not the only answer to closing the gender gap

18 7 6
DESPITE strong evidence in favour of gender diversity in organisations, the number of women in boardrooms globally remains low.Patterns of women’s participation in Southeast Asian corporate governance offer critical insights into what needs to be done to harness the benefits of gender diversity in leadership.Gender-diverse workplaces enjoy higher levels of employee retention and satisfaction, greater productivity and increased creativity. Analysis of corporate boards in Southeast Asia points to a positive correlation between gender diversity in corporate governance and business performance.

Data collected in Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam indicate that women directors are just as influential as men in corporate governance networks. Studies elsewhere show that gender-diverse top management teams lead organisations that are better able to weather business and economic crises.

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Despite the economic incentives for organisations to move towards gender-balanced workplaces and leadership, annual report data from the largest publicly listed companies in Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam shows persistently low women’s participation rates, particularly at middle and top management levels.

Similar data on the Asia Pacific shows that Japanese and South Korean women directors comprise only 5 percent of boards. In most Southeast Asian countries, women occupy between 10 and 19 percent of board seats. Australia and New Zealand are leaders in the region, with women’s corporate governance participation rates........

© Asian Correspondent