Women directors give boards more insightful perspective

With women's representation on the boards of Singapore's listed companies being only 9.1 per cent, there must be underlying issues that have not been addressed in the search for female talents ("Call to step up efforts to put more women on boards"; Sept 30).

In this day and age, it cannot be said that there are no available female talents or that these talents cannot be groomed to take on board-level positions.

We have seen women proving their worth in formal education and in the workplace. Many of them are leading major organisations and delivering commendable results.

When I was the chairman of a company, my fellow board members and I made it a point to search for good female talents and groom them to take on positions with more responsibility.

On listing the company, one out of three independent directors and two out of four executive directors on our board were female. Our experience with having women on the board showed that we had a more diverse and insightful perspective, and it bodes well for the stability and growth of the business.

I am not suggesting that there should be a quota for women in the organisational hierarchy. Meritocracy should still apply.

Grooming female talents should not be allowed to affect overall effectiveness and efficiency of the operation.

On the other hand, not addressing this issue can cause a cascade of negative consequences, including having policy myopia and less-than-representational feedback from the ground.

I hope that we will continue to help women break whatever real or perceived glass ceiling there may be in business and in life.

Patrick Liew Siow Gian (Dr)