By The People At Work
Summary: Gender diversity in the boardroom is a global conversation, and Asia is no exception. A large part of recent conversation has been about encouraging greater female representation on corporate boards—it is not disputed that board gender diversity brings a wider range of perspectives for decision-making and arguably contributes to a better bottom line.
Across Asia, more nations are embracing gender quotas or targets to boost female participation on corporate boards. Controversial as they may be, quotas seem to have shown promise in breaking old behavioural patterns. Countries like Hong Kong, South Korea, and India have seen positive shifts, particularly in the short term.
In a 2022 Deloitte study, Southeast Asian countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, have recorded an average of 17.1% women in board seats, up from 14.3% in 2018.
But as women gain access to boardrooms, they encounter challenges. Unconscious affinity bias can emerge in male-dominated boards, potentially side-lining female voices. Being a minority, women may struggle to assert themselves fully. There’s also the risk of being perceived as quota-fillers, which may undermine their credibility.
While quotas provide an initial push, they remain a remedy for symptoms rather than the systemic issue. Achieving true gender diversity in corporations may demand a more multifaceted approach.