Report Lays Out Measures to Encourage More Women in Business Leadership
The progress of women in leadership across the Commonwealth could be improved by implementing a set of six simple policy and strategic measures, recommends a new report commissioned by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC).
The recommendations are included in a report called "Paving the Way to Opportunities: Women in Leadership Across the Commonwealth."
The recommendations are:
· Create a database of women who are board-ready or have board potential – this would hold details of women in all regions of the Commonwealth, across a wide range of sectors and backgrounds to make sure ‘all bases are covered’ and to provide ample recruitment and sponsorship opportunities.
· Support sponsoring initiatives – consistent levels of quality would be created in the sponsoring process, while sharing best practice across different regions. This could also help Commonwealth countries share their ideas and experiences with each other around this issue, with the help of organisations such as ACCA and the Commonwealth Businesswomen (CBW).
· Build a research monitor across the Commonwealth – greater transparency comparing all Commonwealth countries’ boards – how they are composed and the recruitment process – would provide the means of benchmarking the impact on business performance.
· Raise career aspirations – career development needs to be ingrained in education from the beginning at primary level, and continued through to university. This, combined with higher visibility of female role models, will give women someone to aspire to.
· Create a media strategy – which demonstrates the impact of women in senior leadership positions, to enable stakeholders to make informed choices by working with business organisations, business schools and other bodies.
· Share best practice across the Commonwealth – one of the CBW’s priorities is to focus on women on boards, develop and strengthen support networks. The Commonwealth’s unique experience, footprint and voice, covering diverse countries and economies, takes the discussions further than just about women on boards in a narrow number of countries and gives it the ability to identify and share varieties of innovation and best practice.
According to the International Federation of Business and Professional Women - BPW International - women account for 40 percent of the global workforce.
"We are still some way off from seeing this reflected in leadership positions," says Leong Soo Yee, head of ACCA Singapore. "Sustainable economic growth requires a broad range of skills and experience, something that women can bring to the table.”
"To enable greater representation of women in leadership, the combined effects of policies that address visible barriers; cultural transformation that addresses invisible barriers; an increase in role models; and action by women leaders for future generations will be important," adds Mildred Tan, Managing Director of Ernst & Young Advisory Pte. Ltd., also Chairperson of the Diversity Task Force in Singapore.
Tan shares that at EY Asia-Pacific, 40% of the 80 Partners admitted this year are women.
“It is clear from this report that while more can be done, the Commonwealth’s strength is its diversity," says Peter Callaghan.