KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 – Malaysian women have it better than their Singaporean sisters when it comes to representation at the workplace, according to the Gender Diversity Benchmark for Asia 2014 (GDBA 2014). Malaysia ranked fourth among six Asian markets, GDBA 2014 said. The lead sponsor of the report is Bank of America Merrill Lynch, as part of its efforts to promote diversity and inclusion. The study benchmarks gender diversity in more than 30 multinational companies across six markets, including Singapore, Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, India and Japan. It was conducted by Community Business, a leading not-for-profit organisation specialising in corporate responsibility and a thought leader on diversity and inclusion in Asia.

Community Business chief executive officer, Fern Ngai, said overall, the organisation was pleased to see some signs of real progress in this latest study. “Of course, more needs to be done and performance varies across the region. Women continue to be under-represented at senior levels in organisations and we need to continue to address this,” she said. Ngai commended Malaysia on its strong and improved performance. “The mandatory measures introduced by the Malaysian government have been a key driver. The country performs well on all data points despite the less favourable environment for women’s advancement in Malaysia.

“These findings show that the existence of policies and programmes does not necessarily correlate to strong performance, and bringing about change requires multifaceted efforts from different sectors and on different aspects,” she said. Malaysia presents an encouraging picture with a consistent upward trend in performance compared with 2011. When it comes to the average representation of women in the total workforce (58.1%), at junior levels (63%) and middle levels (50.3%), companies in Malaysia are achieving or exceeding gender parity. Like Singapore, the biggest leak in Malaysia’s talent pool takes place between middle and senior levels with an average 32.4% drop. When it comes to the average representation of women at senior levels, performance continues to be relatively strong at 34%. Malaysia ranks second at this level, just behind China only, and has the highest percentage of companies (35.3%) attaining or surpassing gender parity.

Credit : The Malaysian Insider

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