Value in having women in boardroom

I applaud the Diversity Action Committee's push for greater diversity in the boardroom by urging Singapore-listed companies to report on their diversity policies and objectives ("Call to get more women on S'pore boards"; yesterday).

Appointing more women on boards is not just the "right" thing to do; it is the smart thing to do.

Studies have shown a positive correlation between women in the boardroom and increased productivity. Yet, why are Singapore-listed companies still paying lip service to diversity?

This reflects a broader problem of gender inequality in our society - from the stereotyping of gender roles in schools to the under-representation of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics industries.

Singapore-listed companies can lead the way on gender equality by being accountable for their boardroom appointments. They should establish measurable targets to show their commitment to increasing the actual participation rate of women in the boardroom.

I agree that it is unwise to prescribe quotas, as this could lead to the appointment of unsuitable candidates. I have faith that the current push for diversity reporting will yield positive results.

I cannot imagine any listed company justifying a male board member's lengthy tenure when there are credible female candidates with a good mix of skills, expertise and experience to fill his shoes.

Helen Ng Sue Khion (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 07, 2016, with the headline 'Value in having women in boardroom'. Print Edition | Subscribe