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KUALA LUMPUR, April 28 (Bernama) -- Malaysia has the highest percentage of women board members in Asia at 26 per cent, ahead of the global average of 19.7 per cent.
The nation also posted the highest percentage compared to similar economies like Singapore (17.6 per cent ), Thailand (17.8 per cent) and Hong Kong (13.9 per cent).
A latest study by Deloitte in collaboration with The 30% Club found that Malaysia has the highest percentage of women chief financial officers among the Asian nations surveyed (34.9 per cent), more than double the global average of 15.7 per cent.
However, the country was still four per cent shy from the targeted 30 per cent board representation by 2020, it said.
Set by the government in 2011, the Corporate Governance (CG) Blueprint 2011 and the current Malaysian Code on Corporate Governance 2021 (MCCG 2021) stipulates that if this target is not met, the board should then disclose its action plan and time frame to achieve that mark.
The boards should also review the participation of women in senior management roles to ensure there is a healthy talent pipeline.
Having said that, the study revealed that the topic of greater gender diversity on boards and in the workforce continues to be at the forefront of discussions among regulators and organisations.
Among the significant changes under the 2021 revisions to the MCCG is an extension of the 30 per cent gender diversity requirement to all companies (firms on the FTSE Bursa Malaysia Top 100 Index or those with market capitalisation of RM2 billion and above).
“There has to be active involvement from the board with the support of its committee; e.g. Nomination Committee to push this agenda within an organisation.
"It is recommended for organisations to have a comprehensive succession plan in place that can be used to not only identify the candidates for both the board and management team, but also for training and development purposes," Deloitte Malaysia risk advisory executive director Muzafar Kamal said.
The seventh edition report of 'Women in the boardroom: A global perspective' also revealed that the percentage of women in board seats in Southeast Asia has fared better with an average of 17.1 per cent compared to 14.3 per cent in 2018.
The figure outperforms the Asia average of 11.7 per cent and is closing in on the global average of 19.7 per cent.
These findings reinforce that while women’s participation in boards in the region has gone up since 2018, the perception and perhaps the acceptance of women assuming top leadership positions in boards are significantly varied across geographies.
“The tenure of women in board seats in Southeast Asia has either remained stable or saw a decline, with the average tenure having decreased most sharply in Singapore, from 5.0 years to 4.4 years.
“The percentage change for tenure term has also decreased for Malaysia and the Philippines, which could be due to the wider pool of women candidates in these countries given that the overall women participation on boards has increased,” the report said.
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