Diversity in boardrooms goes beyond gender

Women's representation on boards has climbed steadily from 8.3 per cent in 2013 to 9.5 per cent last year ("Women stepping up in S'pore boardrooms"; Tuesday).

Board diversity is certainly welcome, but the Diversity Action Committee seems to focus just on gender diversity.

Diversity goes beyond gender, and includes ethnicity, views, ideas and experience.

The dynamism, profitability, vision, innovativeness and progress of an organisation are a reflection of the quality of its board.

Hence, board members must be selected based on their experience, capability and ability to contribute to achieving the goals of the organisation, without gender bias.

It will be regressive if we are guided by quotas, mandatory disclosure obligations or political correctness.

Singapore has attained First World status.

Men today are playing an active role in parenting. In fact, in some households, the wives are doing better in their careers than their husbands.

Therefore, the fear of husbands being typecast as breadwinners and wives as childminders is misplaced ("S'pore must keep removing glass ceilings for women" by Mr Paul Heng; Wednesday).

We should refrain from painting a picture of Singapore women as being disadvantaged, short-changed, sidestepped and discriminated against, such that there is an urgent and continual need to improve their lot. On the contrary, they are among the world's most fortunate people.

Lawrence Loh Kiah Muan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 05, 2016, with the headline 'Diversity in boardrooms goes beyond gender'. Print Edition | Subscribe