Er Dr Lee Bee Wah
MP for Nee Soon GRC
To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development
(a) whether the Ministry has done any study to find out the causes of low female representation on the boards of public-listed companies in Singapore; and
(b) whether the Ministry has looked into how to encourage companies to invite more women to serve on the board of directors.
In late 2012, a Diversity Task Force was formed to examine the state of gender diversity on boards and senior management of listed companies in Singapore. The move was prompted by the concern that women continue to be under-represented despite making immense progress in education and employment.
The Task Force is chaired by Mrs Mildred Tan, who is the Managing Director of Ernst & Young and comprises business leaders from the private and people sectors. It receives advice from an Advisory Panel, which is chaired by Mr J.Y. Pillay and comprises industry leaders who are champions of board diversity. The Task Force conducted a survey in July 2013 with SGX-listed companies and statutory boards on gender diversity on boards and in senior management, and is currently analysing its findings and reviewing its recommendations. Its report is expected in mid 2014.
Besides the Task Force, the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations also has an initiative to raise awareness on the economic benefits of gender-balanced boards for businesses. Known as BoardAgender, the initiative encourages and enables more women to contribute their expertise in the boardroom and committees.