1. Hong Kong Companies Slow To Add Women Directors To Their Boards – Why It Makes Good Business Sense To Do So

    Hong Kong Companies Slow To Add Women Directors To Their Boards – Why It Makes Good Business Sense To Do So

    Hong Kong has a large pool of talented women and access to affordable domestic help – so what is stopping them from reaching board level? That is the question on Shalini Mahtani’s mind. She is the founder and former CEO of Community Business, which marks International Women’s Day on March 8 with an annual report on the representation of women on Hang Seng Index-listed company boards...

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    1. Everyone should be interested in having women on boards because boards are making decisions about us. Whether it's a bank thinking about life insurance or Procter & Gamble making decisions about tampons, I want someone who has thought about my needs.
    2. Companies show positive business performance when they embrace the concept of diversity – not just women, all aspects.
    3. I get that there are organisations that want to remain closed and don't necessarily want external ideas coming in, but that's not remaining ahead of the game; it's not good corporate governance and it can't be good for stakeholders.
    4. It's positive there has been progress, but overall it's very slow. And compared to other markets such as the UK and Australia it's really very slow.
    5. If you look at Europe, they have seen a significant increase over a shorter period. In Hong Kong there isn't the recognition of the value that diversity brings. We are dealing with institutional barriers that prevent women from being represented at the highest level.
    6. Norway has a strict quota system of 40 per cent, but that hasn't translated into gender diversity for CEOs and they struggle to meet the quota.
    7. The government actually sets a target of 35 per cent of women serving on ASBs [advisory and statutory bodies]. It's great the government has shown that kind of leadership and direction, but we need to see more cross-pollination happening.
    8. You've got companies in Hong Kong who are genuinely global and doing the right thing, but further down the field that's not the case and partly that's because they don't get the business case or see the value of it.
    9. It's ironic that Mervyn Davies, who ended up leading the charge in the UK, was at Standard Chartered in Hong Kong.
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