KUALA LUMPUR, 12 July 2017 – Gender diversity in the boardroom should be treated as a business imperative, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s a key contributor to improved financial performance. This was one of the main themes discussed during the launch of the Board Mentoring Scheme by 30% Club Malaysia at a joint luncheon with PwC Malaysia themed ‘Empowering women through mentorship’.
Pauline Ho, PwC Malaysia People Partner and 30% Club Steering Committee Member said:
“The number of studies that have proven gender diversity and profitability are linked sends out a strong signal on the importance of appointing more women to board positions.
It’s not about filling quotas. It’s about ensuring there is a mix of skills and experiences to allow for the possibility of diverse perspectives, preventing ‘groupthink’- the practice where ideas aren’t challenged because a group of people share too similar viewpoints. A robust dialogue encourages better quality decisions, and ultimately improves an organisation’s bottom line.
We at PwC firmly believe that organisations will benefit by giving more women the opportunity to sit on boards. That’s why we are honoured to jointly host this luncheon with 30% Club Malaysia, as they introduce their Board Mentoring Scheme.”
The newly launched scheme is part of 30% Club Malaysia’s efforts to address the gender imbalance at the top of the corporate structure, in line with the government’s target of achieving at least 30% of women on Bursa Top 100 PLC boards by 2020.
The scheme is modelled around the mentoring scheme by 30% Club UK and Women Ahead. Under this board level cross-sector programme, a group of women who have been identified as board-ready are selected and paired with experienced board members based on key criteria such as professional experience and interests. Mentors participate on a voluntary basis, and are assigned one mentee each.
The nine-month programme has been designed to provide women with a platform to boost their chances of being appointed to boards. Through mentee-initiated meetings, mentees can receive advice, learn first-hand from the experiences of their mentors, and potentially gain the opportunity to be a candidate for a board position. To ensure the mentoring meetings are effective, guidance will be provided by 30% Club Malaysia. The programme also presents these board-qualified women with opportunities to expand their own network, by attending relevant events that will help increase their visibility among key decision makers.
“PwC supports this programme because we believe in the power of mentorship. In fact, mentorship is a way male leaders can play their part in elevating the discussion on the importance of including women in the boardroom. Our belief that mentorship can make a difference is demonstrated through the actions of our leaders, both male and female. They are active in coaching and mentoring young leaders from a number of youth movements in Malaysia, such as Young Corporate Malaysians (YCM), Empowering Youth Endeavours (EYE) and Teach for Malaysia (TFM). It’s also why our leaders offer their support to other platforms of mentorship for senior businesswomen, like ICAEW’s Women in Leadership Malaysia programme. I, myself, would not be where I am today were it not for guidance from mentors in the earlier years of my career.
We have heard that women lack confidence. That’s not the right perspective. Unlike men, women may sometimes be more cautious about taking up an opportunity, if they don’t feel they’re completely ready. So for them to secure a seat in the boardroom, it’s important that they have role models to look up to. Sometimes, all they need is someone to listen to them, someone to believe in their potential, to give them the little push they need to reach their goals.
I’m confident that the mentees of the 30% Club’s mentorship programme will receive invaluable advice and support from their mentors, hopefully leading to a board position in the near future.”
Anne Abraham, Co-founding Chair of 30% Club Malaysia said:
“The pilot board mentoring scheme will address one of the many challenges in providing potential women directors with the much needed visibility and network in the board circles. The mentoring programme will also give board mentors an opportunity to not only nurture the pool of potential women directors, but based on the relationship, to also be comfortable to be a sponsor or referee for these women when board opportunities arise. This will dispel the concerns of targets vs merit, as there is no lack of a strong pipeline of competent and qualified women for board roles. The 30% Club hopes to have 100 women mentored through this programme by 2020.”
The first cohort of selected mentors and mentees were among those in attendance at the launch, where a highlight of the session was a fireside chat with the event’s special guest Datuk Zaiton Mohd Hassan, a seasoned board member of various companies and the Chief Executive Officer of the Malaysia Professional Accountancy Centre (MyPAC).
Among the issues discussed in the interactive dialogue with attendees were the significance of sponsorships in the process of appointing board members, and the role of men in achieving gender balance on boards.
Following the luncheon, 30% Club Malaysia held its first meeting with the mentors and mentees of this round’s Board Mentoring Scheme to provide them with a detailed briefing.
1. The programme is underpinned by the 30% Club Malaysia’s belief that gender diversity is good for the overall effectiveness of the boardroom – and therefore is good for business. Their efforts are aligned with the government’s target of increasing the number of women in decision-making positions in the corporate sector by 2020. This target is in line with UN Sustainable Goal 5: ‘Gender equality and women empowerment’ – to ensure women’s full and active participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life.
2. Neither the 30% Club nor existing government policies call for a mandatory quota. The 30% Club supports sustainable business-led voluntary change to improve the current gender imbalance on Malaysian boards.
3. PwC is committed to diversity and inclusion (D&I), and have a number of D&I initiatives that aim to bring together the perspectives of individuals of all backgrounds, life experiences, preferences and beliefs to create better outcomes for clients, people and communities. PwC aims to create an inclusive environment where everyone can feel comfortable and confident being themselves, and one that enables all to perform at their best. Initiatives include PwC’s Flex+ programme, a relaunch of PwC’s flexible working arrangement policies that incorporate a range of work flexibility and benefits for employees. Flex+ is divided into three pillars: flex@work, life@work and parents@work. To find out more about PwC’s D&I initiatives, read PwC Malaysia’s 2015-2016 Corporate Responsibility report here.
4. PwC has also produced a number of thought leaderships on female talent in the workplace. To read about how organisations can gain an edge by being inclusive in their recruitment process, read the PwC report ‘Winning the fight for female talent: How to gain the diversity edge through inclusive recruitment’.
5. To find out more about the challenges that women must overcome to advance their career through international experience, read the PwC report ‘Modern mobility: Moving women with purpose’.
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©2017 PwC. All rights reserved. “PricewaterhouseCoopers” and/or “PwC” refers to the individual members of the PricewaterhouseCoopers organisation in Malaysia, each of which is a separate and independent legal entity. Please see www.pwc.com/structure for further details.
The 30% Club is a group of chairmen and business leaders who are committed to bringing more women onto Malaysian corporate boards. It was launched on 8 May 2015 to facilitate the achievement of the government’s target of 30% of women on boards under its National Transformation Programme. Tan Sri Megat Zaharuddin, Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah and Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar are Co-Chairpersons of the Malaysian chapter of the 30% Club. To find out more, visit https://30percentclub.org/about/chapters/malaysia
‘30% Club Growth Through Diversity’ and the device mark are registered internationally as trade marks by 30% Club. No use may be made of such marks without the express prior written permission of 30% Club. All rights reserved.
Manager, PwC Malaysia
Tel: +60 (3) 2173 0226