DBS, CDL make it to Bloomberg's Gender-Equality Index

The women of DBS Group's management committee, who make up 30% of its members. (L-R) Eng-Kwok Seat Moey, head of capital markets group; Pearlyn Phau, deputy group head of consumer banking & wealth management; Tan Su Shan, group head of wealth management; Jeanette Wong, group executive, head of institutional banking group; Chng Sok Hui, chief financial officer; Lee Yan Hong, head of human resources; and, Karen Ngui, head of strategic marketing and communications PHOTO: DBS
Women make up about 70% of CDL’s workforce and 40% of its department heads. Ms Yiong Yim Ming (left), chief financial officer, and Ms Esther An (right), chief sustainability officer, are part of CDL’s senior management. PHOTO: CITY DEVELOPMENTS LTD

SINGAPORE - Two Singapore-listed companies, DBS Group Holdings and City Developments Limited (CDL) have made it to the 2018 edition of Bloomberg's Gender-Equality Index (GEI).

Launched on Monday (Jan 22), the reference index measures gender equality across internal company statistics, employee policies, external community support and engagement, as well as gender-conscious product offerings.

Singapore companies made up a third of the six Asian companies (excluding Japan) included in the index, which is tracked by investors. In a 2016 Human Development Report published by the United Nations, Singapore was ranked fifth out of 188 countries for gender equality, up from 11th out of 188 countries in 2015.

Said DBS CEO Piyush Gupta: "It's a milestone moment for us, to be recognised globally among some 100 firms as best-in-class for gender equality. We believe that when you achieve a critical mass of women across all levels, this will make a difference in an organisation's ability to succeed and contributes to our ability to consistently punch above our weight."

He added: "In Singapore, women form 60 per cent of DBS's overall workforce, and 40 per cent of our senior management are women. Women also make up 30 per cent of our group management committee, which sets the strategy and direction of DBS."

To promote diversity on its board of directors, DBS has established a board diversity policy. Additionally, as part of its family-friendly policies, DBS employees can choose from different working arrangements including: flexible time arrangement, part-time arrangement, work-from-home arrangement and a sabbatical leave arrangement, DBS said.

The bank provides inclusive banking services and played an active role in launching the Women's Livelihood Bond - the world's first social sustainability bond to be listed on a stock exchange. This bond impacts the livelihoods of over 385,000 women in Cambodia, the Philippines and Vietnam through micro and small loans. According to the bank, DBS Foundation also supports and funds numerous social enterprises that empower disadvantaged women and girls.

Separately, CDL's CEO, Sherman Kwek said: "We are honoured to be the only real estate company selected for the 2018 Bloomberg GEI. We have always believed in the importance of gender diversity and strived hard to make it part of our corporate culture. In doing so, it has enabled us to benefit hugely from the unique perspectives and immense creativity."

He added: "By harnessing the diversity of our talent pool... it has given us a strong strategic advantage when it comes to decision-making and operations. With women making up about 70 per cent of CDL's workforce and 40 per cent of our department heads, we are committed to empowering women in our workplace, and supporting their pursuit for career and personal development."

Recognising that expanding opportunities for women is fundamental to sustainable growth, CDL established an internal Diversity and Inclusion Task Force last year to promote awareness and adoption of diversity within the firm and the community.

The real estate firm has also adopted a formal board diversity policy which sets out a framework for promoting diversity on its board, CDL said.

In addition, at the launch of its Singapore Sustainability Academy, the eco-developer initiated Women4Green, the first Singapore network that aims to empower women to create a financially, environmentally and socially sustainable future.

According to CDL, Mr Kwek has also joined over 1,600 leaders globally in pledging support for the Women's Empowerment Principles developed in partnership with the United Nations. These principles offer practical guidance to the private sector on how to empower women in the workplace.

Said Kiersten Barnet, deputy chief of staff to the chairman at Bloomberg: "As investors continue to seek more information on companies' approaches to environmental, social and governance factors, the 2018 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index allows investors to compare companies' commitments to gender equality across industries."

She added: "More data and greater transparency in this space will allow investors to make better-informed decisions and help companies better understand their own progress towards gender equality."

Bloomberg's Gender-Equality index included 104 companies from 10 sectors headquartered in 24 countries.

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