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LATEST RESEARCH LAUNCH: 
Women on Boards Hong Kong 2016


Happy International Women's Day (IWD)! 

IWD gives us the opportunity to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. In Hong Kong, however, when it comes to gender diversity on the boards of blue chip companies, there is little cause to celebrate. The representation of women on Hang Seng Index boards has stagnated at 11.1%, i.e. 0% growth from last year. 

According to Community Business' annual research Women on Boards Hong Kong 2016 Report , two-thirds of companies showed no improvement at all in the last year. Disappointingly, the number of all-male boards has increased from 14 to 16 (out of 50), bucking the downward trend seen since 2012, and seven companies have resolutely ignored the call to action with zero female directors since 2009. With this flat trajectory, Hong Kong lags further behind international counterparts, notably the U.K. (26.1%), Australia (21.5%) and the US (20.0%) which have all been making significant progress over the past seven years, and is at risk of falling behind other countries in the region that are targeting their efforts and gaining traction. 

The glacial pace of women¡¦s inclusion on corporate boards, since we started to put the spotlight on this issue in 2009, indicates a lack of recognition of women¡¦s talents and tremendous contribution to the economy, and is a clear signal that there are cultural and institutional barriers that continue to prevent women from advancing to the top. The business case for gender diverse boards is clear ¡V better decision making, more creativity, improved risk management and corporate governance, with a growing body of evidence linking gender diversity at top levels with improved financial and non-financial performance. However, excluding a few leading companies, most of Hong Kong¡¦s listed companies are ignoring this at their peril. It¡¦s time that they wake up to an issue that is on the agenda of regulators, stock exchanges, investors, customers, and their own employees. 

To drive faster and meaningful progress, rather than implementing across-the-board quotas which we do not support, we urge companies to voluntarily set targets that are relevant to their own business environment, just like setting KPIs and maintaining scorecards as they would as a natural part of business. If we continue to fail to see improvement, it may well be time for stronger regulated measures to be introduced in order to break Hong Kong¡¦s inertia.

We hope that in a year¡¦s time, we will have better news to report, and that we too can join the global celebration of International Women's Day!

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Available for Download Now

The infographics of the Women On Boards Hong Kong 2016 Report, together with the League Table of the Hang Seng Index Boards, are now available for download at HK$150. Simply click the download button below.

Exclusive Access for Members

If you are a member of Community Business, you should have received an email providing you with free access or preferential rates (depending on which network membership you are with) to download the new research.

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