Board diversity catalyses robust governance and responsible stewardship, and is a valuable driver for growth.
Our Background and Mission
CBD was established by the Ministry of Social and Family Development to promote a sustained increase in the number of women directors of listed companies, statutory boards and non-profit organisations in Singapore as a stepping stone to broader diversity. President Halimah Yacob is the patron, and members are eminent leaders with strong networks across boards of the private, public and people sectors.
CBD builds on the work of the Diversity Action Committee (DAC) from 2014 to 2018 and a study by the Diversity Taskforce regarding Women on Boards (DTF) in 2012. Find out more about our journey here.
We support organisations in unlocking the power of board diversity.
Key things our Council does:
- Engage key board decision makers directly to advance board diversity.
- Activate board-ready women comprising C-Suite executives and professionals. We welcome you to approach CBD for guidance and recommendations of board-ready women.
- Partner stakeholders in the ecosystem, including investors, to influence and accelerate change.
- Take a broad view across public, people and private sectors, promoting consistent practices and disclosures on board diversity.
Quotas do not guarantee ensuing benefits
We are interested in board diversity, including gender, for the benefits that it brings. Meeting the numbers does not guarantee that benefits follow.
Suitable women board candidates are available
Some boards’ perception of a shortage of qualified women may have been caused by (a) their preference to fill board seats through recommendation from their personal networks, and (b) their preference for experienced or older directors which limits their definition of a suitable board candidate.
Women hold a third of senior leadership roles in Singapore, a proxy for the available pool of board-ready women. This proportion is comparable to countries like Australia, US and UK, but women’s representation on Singapore boards are half of these countries’.
At the same time, we witness the increasing appointment of Singapore women to international boards overseas as they diversity.
Singapore Boards may find that the pool of candidates is much larger than expected if they look beyond traditional networks and re-examine the profile of board directors they seek.
Meritocracy and Diversity can co-exist
CBD supports merit-based appointment of board directors. Every director must possess the necessary qualifications, skills and experience to contribute to the board.
Equally, diversity has become more important than ever, given disruptions and shifts in business models.
Boost Investor Confidence Through Diversity Disclosure
Companies disclosing their board diversity policy in the right spirit, in line with SGX Listing Rules, presents an opportunity for champions of diversity to shine and will help raise the profile of Singapore listed issuers amid the growing importance of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors to investors.
Progress of Women’s Representation on Boards
Working toward parity in participation of men and women on boards in the long term, CBD introduced aspirational targets for WOB, encouraging boards on their journey to leverage board diversity for long-term business value.
Please note, slightly different targets have been set for listed companies vs. statutory boards and IPCs, based on the varied starting points in board gender diversity for the groups, and after an extensive study on feasibility.
We have worked with organisations who also believe in the value of diversity in boards. We would like to thank the following partners for their ongoing support, and without whom, our impact would not be as significant: