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New Council For Board Diversity To Increase Women's Representation On Boards

Type: Press Releases

Topic(s): Women Empowerment

1 From January 2019, the Diversity Action Committee (DAC) will widen its scope from increasing the representation of women on boards of Singapore Exchange (SGX) listed companies, to include organisations in the people and public sectors. It will be renamed the Council for Board Diversity (CBD), and have President Halimah Yacob as its Patron.

2 The new Council will be chaired by two Co-Chairpersons Mr Loh Boon Chye, CEO of Singapore Exchange (SGX) and Mrs Mildred Tan, Chairman of the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre. The Council, which has 20 members with a diverse and strong slate of management and board expertise across different sectors, will serve for a two-year term from January 2019. Please refer to Annex A for the list of members.

3 The DAC was established by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) in August 2014 to address women on boards, arising from a 2012 study initiated by President Halimah Yacob when she was then serving as Minister of State for Social and Family Development. The DAC has made good progress over the past four years in convincing companies listed on SGX to increase women on boards as part of good governance. As at December 2018, the representation of women on boards of the top 100 primary-listed companies on the SGX had increased to 15.2 per cent from 13.1 per cent in the previous year, and from 7.5 per cent before DAC first started in August 2014. Please refer to Annex B for key findings of the latest DAC report.

4 President Halimah Yacob said, "Increasing women on boards should be a priority for organisations as this introduces fresh perspectives and enhances corporate governance. Singapore, being a global financial and business hub, is natural ground for having a big pool of highly capable board-ready women. In the past four years under the leadership of the Diversity Action Committee, women's membership of corporate boards on top 100 primary-listed companies on the Singapore Exchange has doubled. This is good progress and I commend companies which had taken steps to enhance their board diversity that aligns with company strategy and risk management. It is only timely to include organisations in the people and public sectors in the next phase of development. I am confident that the new Council has strong leadership in place to advance women on boards for more organisations and sectors."

5 Mr Loh Boon Chye, Co-chairperson of the CBD said, "A diverse board helps in effective stewardship and should be seen as a strategic tool in enhancing long-term sustainable performance. It better equips organisations to navigate the uncertainty and complexity of today's environment brought about by factors such as geopolitical and trade tensions, and technological disruption. With the inclusion of the people and public sectors, we hope to not only increase awareness of board diversity across a wider range of organisations, but also to drive progress to achieve more women on boards."

6 Co-chairperson, Mrs Mildred Tan said, "Organisations today need to be more discerning and have the ability to hear and consider different points of view, which comes from people who have different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives leading to good corporate decision-making. Many studies have shown that diversity of thought results in better outcomes and women on Boards bring different perspectives to sometimes difficult issues where our economic and social pace of change is accelerating. Creating a more diverse boardroom with women has become essential as a business imperative and adds value to policies and practices."


Annex C Frequently Asked Questions