Gender diversity in leadership boosts innovation

We need to press on to find out why there is a disproportionately low number of women on boards and in other leadership positions, and take proactive actions to resolve the issue (Boards with at least one woman cross 50% mark; Aug 1).

According to the World Economic Forum's (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016, Singapore "can rely on the most flexible and the second most attractive labour market in the world, although the participation of women in the workforce remains relatively low (75th)".

In another WEF report, it also states that the "expansion of opportunities for women has the potential to transform the economies, societies and demographics of countries as a whole".

An organisation that has no women or a lack of women in leadership positions may suffer from planning myopia and deficiency in its operation.

It may not have a proper perspective of female stakeholders, including employees and customers.

For example, it may be better for a female leader in engineering to convince other women to take up engineering courses and careers.

When there is gender diversity in the leadership team, there will be a diversity of ideas, and it can contribute to more innovative breakthroughs.

Patrick Liew Siow Gian (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 04, 2018, with the headline 'Gender diversity in leadership boosts innovation'. Print Edition | Subscribe