It’s official : A 2022 Deloitte report placed Singapore as the nation with the highest percentage of CEO roles held by women at 13.1 per cent, an increase of 3.2 percentage point as compared to the last report in 2018.
Similarly, the percentages of women having board seats and women board chairs also increased. A total of 119 women are on the boards of 101 total companies analysed, according to the report. The three sectors with the highest percentage of women on boards are technology, media and telecommmuncations; financial services, and consumer business.
The Women in the Boardroom report, now in its seventh edition, tracks 72 countries on gender diversity in the boardroom and explores social, legislative and political trends behind the rankings.
What are the policies that contributed to the increase?
The report said that the Singapore’s Code of Corporate Governance requires – other than a diversity policy which must be disclosed in annual reports – company boards to have a suitable mix of skills and experience, including diversity of gender and age.
The Ministry of Social and Family Development also created the Council for Board Diversity to increase women’s participation on the boards of listed companies and nonprofits in Singapore. Its targets include having 25 per cent on the largest 100 companies in Singapore by 2025 and 30 per cent by 2030.
Deloitte Singapore Chairman Mr Philip Yuen said: “The move towards greater gender parity in leadership is happening in Singapore. Our data shows nearly a 4 per cent increase in the number of board seats held by women this year, to roughly 18 per cent in our sample.”
While acknowledging the increase, Mr Yuen also said that the pace of change is still too slow.
“If there are more than enough women with the competencies needed to rise through the
ranks, then the question is, ‘Are businesses and society doing enough to give them the chance?’” he added.
A work in progress
While it is heartening to see Singapore having the highest percentage of women CEOs globally, women’s development remains a key PAP agenda and we will remain the only political party in Singapore to actively push for gender equality.
In fact, Minister K Shanmugam had previously said in 2020 that gender equality is going to take a lot of effort, and will require a change in our cultural value system. But he believed Singapore can do it.
Likewise in politics, we have also seen an increase in female representation in Parliament. There are 28 women out of 95 seats, almost 30 per cent. It’s higher than the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s world average of 24.5 per cent.
If we look beyond recent numbers, our work for women’s development is a long-running one. A prime example is President Halimah Yacob. Before she became the first female President in our nation’s history, she was the first Malay woman to be elected into Parliament in 2001; the first female Speaker in Singapore in 2013; she was inducted into the Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame in 2014; she was part of our Party’s Central Executive Committee in 2015.
Championing women’s concerns and advancing the role of women in society have been an integral part of our Party’s DNA since our founding. Just a few months ago, we started the initiative — #ActionForHer — calling for Singaporeans to support and take action for our women.
In addition, the Women’s and Youth’s wings submitted a paper on improving women’s development to the government last year and will culminate in a White Paper to be presented in Parliament this year.
Because the PAP believes that as Singapore progresses, so must the status of women in our society.
Cover photo credit: Benjamin Child on Unsplash