Gender diversity on boards is not about optics, but about solidifying your business. A board made up of different perspectives encourages a culture of questioning a robust discussion. We know from a growing body of research that this will help to mitigate risks and ensure a higher probability of business success.
There is no logical reason for women to still be a minority on so many boards in Hong Kong. Regulators should introduce quotas and a greater sense of urgency to reset the imbalance.
Global Publisher, FT Live & Managing Director, Asia Pacific at Financial Times
A main factor that has driven Board composition at Hang Seng Bank in recent years is demographic mirroring, with respect to customers and staff. That, overlaid by a meritocratic culture, have served and aligned the varied interests of the Bank's principal stakeholders well. Board level diversity demonstrably enhances institutional empathy towards people that matter, hence sustainability.
Dr Raymond Ch’ien
Independent Non-executive Chairman, Hang Seng Bank & Member of 30% Club Hong Kong
We ask every business leader to demand support from government, regulators and companies to urgently make meaningful progress, not just in increasing the percentage of women on Hong Kong boards but also to call out those companies which still have all-male boards. There is a rich field of female talent in Hong Kong but we need to identify and coach potential candidates, as well as build and collect quality data in order to connect and mobilise that talent. Let's set ourselves ambitious and measurable targets.
Executive Chairperson of Hysan Development Company Ltd. & Chair, 30% Club Hong Kong
Given the acceleration we have seen across the region and the continued momentum of many markets globally even without mandated quotas, it is vital that Hong Kong take steps to diversify its boards or risk losing its competitive edge. Having a gender diverse board is not about optics, but about solidifying your business. A board made up of different, even conflicting, perspectives and life experiences encourages a culture of questioning and robust discussion. This will not only help to mitigate risks and strengthen governance, but ensure a higher probability of business success - which are backed by a growing body of research. In these VUCA times, companies should demand a strong, diverse board that futureproofs their existence. We urge all companies to take steps to ensure that women are given equal opportunity to participate and serve in leadership roles in the boardroom and executive suite – this is not only good for business but good for Hong Kong.
CEO, Community Business
If Hong Kong is going to thrive as a financial centre, it is going to need to have a reputation for strong governance, with board diversity as one of its hallmarks. When one in seven of the directors on the entire market are women, we stretch our credibility thin. It is time for us all to make progress on this issue, before our competitive advantage slides away.
Senior Partner, Head of Asia at Brunswick & 30% Club Hong Kong Steering Committee Member
What can be done?
- Demonstrate leadership and an understanding of the business case
- by appointing women directors
- Implement a board renewal process
- to ensure that your board remains relevant and well positioned to steer your company for long term sustainability
- Review your current board’s composition and structure
- to diversity and strengthen the board by securing the right balance of skills, knowledge, experience, and independence
- Create the environment for fresh ideas and innovation to flourish
- by appointing new directors
- Widen your search
- when recruiting new directors, including engaging an executive search firm
- Foster a boardroom culture
- which encourages a diversity of perspectives and healthy debate, while mitigating group think
- Be a visible champion of change
- and demonstrate your commitment by joining the 30% Club
- Set the tone from the top
- that gender diversity is a strategic priority for your company
- Engage male leaders
- to support gender diversity and act as champions of change
- Invest in your female leaders
- through professional development and mentoring
- Create a supportive culture and environment
- to promote the advancement of women, to plug the leaking pipeline, and mitigate unconscious bias
- Allow your senior female leaders to serve on external boards
- to build their experience and contribute to the wider pool of female talent
- Drive leadership accountability
- by setting goals and targets, and benchmarking progress
- Be an advocate and role model
- for other women, especially those who are not in a position to advocate for themselves
- Take advantage of opportunities
- to learn and gain skills and experience, and to build your reputation
- Increase your visibility
- through networking and being strategic about finding a mentor, sponsor, or advisor
- Link up with an executive search firm
- to position yourself for board placement
- Volunteer to serve on an NGO or advisory board
- to bolster experience and profile, and to expand your network