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Women are still largely under-represented on corporate boards

Female leadership in GCC firms stays below 2pc

BEIRUT, July 25, 2017

Representation of women on company boards remains very low across the region with women holding no more than 2 per cent of board seats in the GCC region, a report said.

However, some strategies to increase women’s representation on boards are making their way in a few countries, including setting voluntary targets, disclosing and increasing transparency in director appointments, implementing quotas, and addressing unconscious bias, added the report titled “Women in the Boardroom: A Global Perspective” from Deloitte, a leading provider of audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk management, tax and related services.

Women are still largely under-represented on corporate boards, despite continued efforts to improve boardroom gender diversity. The fifth edition of the report explores the efforts of more than 60 countries to promote boardroom gender diversity reveals that women hold just 15 per cent of board seats worldwide. These numbers show only modest progress from the 2015 edition of Women in the Boardroom.

For the first time, the publication includes a region-by-region analysis of the relationship between corporate leadership and diversity. A direct correlation was found between female leadership (CEOs and board chairs) to board seats held by women.

“Organizations with women in the top leadership positions have almost doubled the number of board seats held by women. The inverse is true as well, with gender diverse boards more likely to appoint a female CEO and board chair,” said Rana Ghandour Salhab, partner and Talent and Communications leader at Deloitte, Middle East.

“This illustrates an important trend—as the number of female CEOs and board chairs climbs, it is likely to spur greater board diversity. Yet, the percentage of women securing top leadership roles remains very low, with women holding only 4 per cent of CEO and board chair positions globally.”

Bridging the gender divide in the workforce is not only a matter of fairness, but also of effective governance and inclusive economic growth.

Inclusive growth and the future of work

As organizations navigate technological and societal shifts which are transforming the future of work, boards will have a critical role to play. Diversity of thought—and people—will be critical to ensure that board members are exploring challenges from every angle and consistently bringing a fresh point of view.

“Enhancing the diversity of the workforce and fostering inclusive growth is top of mind for Deloitte,” continued Salhab. “To support these goals, we are actively involved with initiatives ranging from our engagement with the B20 to increase female workforce participation, to our collaboration with the OECD in support of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which includes bringing gender equality to the centre of economic development.”

Salhab added, “Deloitte also continues to advocate for diversity in boardrooms through our ‘Board Ready’ programs which are delivered across the globe to help prepare women for board service.”

Highlights of additional findings from the research include:

Boardrooms across the Americas region are not highly gender diverse

•    In the US, only 14 per cent of board seats are held by women, a 2 percentage point increase from the 2015 edition. The per cent of female board chairs has not progressed, remaining at just under four per cent.
•    The per cent of board seats held by women in Canada grew to 18 per cent, a 5 percentage point increase since 2015. The percentage of boards led by women dropped from 6 per cent in 2015 to 5 per cent in 2017.
•    In Latin and South America overall, only 7 per cent of board seats are held by women and 2 per cent of board chairs are women.

Progress across EMEA varies significantly

•    Norway, the first country to ever introduce a gender quota, has the highest percentage of board seats held by women (42 per cent). 7 per cent of board chair positions are held by women.
•    In the UK, there are no quotas in place for women on boards, but 20 per cent of board seats and 3 per cent of board chair positions are held by women.  – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Deloitte | boards | Gender diversity |

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