With 13.1%, city-states outnumber China (6.4%) and Japan (0.3%). Singapore has the highest %age of female CEOs globally, at 13.1%. However, the city-state aims to increase recruiting the greatest talent from abroad by demonstrating gender equality.
According to a Deloitte Global assessment of nearly 70 nations and regions, Singapore’s female CEO ratio in the business sector is significantly higher than other key Asian economies: 6.4 % in China, 4.7 % in India, and 0.3% in Japan.
Pearlyn Phau, Group CEO of insurer Singlife with Aviva stated being a woman, she was offered many opportunities throughout her years in banking and did not feel disadvantaged. She added that she has been “extremely blessed.”
Phau rose through the ranks of Singapore’s leading bank, DBS, and was named CEO of the insurance in 2021, following a megamerger the previous year.
However, the male-dominated power system persists. Only 15% of the top 100 companies on the Singapore Exchange market capitalization have all-male boards, down from 50% in 2013. According to Singapore’s Council for Board Diversity, half of other publicly traded companies had no female directors, down from 57 % in 2013.
Equal possibilities in the workplace were highlighted in a government white paper on women’s development released in late March, with concrete actions such as career mentorship, reentry training, maternity leave promotion, and flexible work arrangements proposed.
In September, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted that some firms were still hesitant to hire, promote, or nurture female personnel, particularly mothers or those wanting to become mothers. Hsien added that they must not allow their preconceptions to stand in women’s advancement.
Ending the gender gap is a social responsibility and a key business strategy. Singapore, where foreign nationals account for over 30% of the population, understands that companies that ignore diversity will struggle to attract talent.
The message appears to be getting through to businesses. Frasers Property, a real estate behemoth, has expanded its flexible work arrangements to include employees who care for children or other family members.
Elisa Mallis, Asia-Pacific managing director of the Center for Creative Leadership development group, suggests moving beyond the government’s proposed professional mentorship program. She believed that sponsorship is equally critical in moving women up the corporate ladder.
She explained that while mentors offer advice and support, sponsors actively advocate for the ‘sponsoree,’ even in off-the-record meetings. She added that flexible parental leave rules are also needed to help women balance their many roles.