Gender ceiling in boardrooms 'cause for concern'

Gender ceiling in boardrooms 'cause for concern'

SINGAPORE - More women in Singapore may be climbing up the corporate ladder but they still face a gender ceiling when it comes to board representation at locally listed companies.

Despite making up 44 per cent of the local workforce, women accounted for a mere 7.3 per cent of board members at these companies in 2011, according to the Singapore Board Diversity Report 2012.

While the proportion may have risen from 5.8 per cent in 2009, the lack of female representation in the higher corporate echelons here is telling when compared to other countries.

For instance, Singapore ranked behind China and Australia, which scored 8.5 per cent and 13.8 per cent in female board representation respectively.

This trend is a cause for concern for Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, who attended a gender diversity meeting on Thursday.

"With the dearth of talent in Singapore, we should really examine whether there are systemic barriers impeding the appointment of women onto boards," she said.

"It is not so much an issue of gender diversity or women's rights but rather what companies and by extension society are losing out on by not tapping the potential of women."

Madam Halimah initiated the Diversity Task Force (DTF) last year when she was Minister of State for the Ministry of Social and Family Development.

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