Advocating for Gender Diversity on Boards and Applauding HK's #MeToo Involvement

Help us Increase the Number of Women on Boards in Hong Kong!

The Women’s Foundation has been a long time advocate for more diverse corporate boards in Hong Kong. As of September 2017, there are only 13.3% women on the boards of Hang Seng Index companies. This is despite the strong business case and growing body of research that shows that gender diverse boards and management teams are good for business. Without bold reform, Hong Kong will continue to fall behind other markets with respect to Board Diversity. 

As we have reported, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) has recently issued a Consultation Paper on the Review of the Corporate Governance Code including Board Diversity. We thank HKEX for taking this important next step for reform by issuing a market Consultation. We agree with the Consultation proposals but also believe they do not go far enough to achieve real change. We recommend HKEX include the following elements in the Corporate Governance Code:

1. a specific focus on gender diversity;
2. the further requirement for measurable objectives; and;
3. specific guidance to the process for a nomination and board diversity review.

The Women’s Foundation and the 30 % Club have responded to the Consultation (read TWF’s submission here). We urge all of you to carefully read the Consultation and submit your organisation’s or your individual responses (or both) on or before Friday, December 8. 2017. We thank you in advance for supporting this important issue for gender diversity in Hong Kong by making submissions.

A summary of the main points we would like to get across is here. Please use any of our material as a foundation for your response if useful and do carefully respond to all the questions in the questionnaire for your submission to carry its full weight.

Change is only achieved through collective efforts so we hope you will join us, (and strongly encourage your companies and networks to do the same), to help Hong Kong achieve greater gender diversity on boards in Hong Kong.

From Hollywood to Hong Kong, the #MeToo movement continues to grow

Since October, we have been watching the growing swell of women’s voices raised to decry instances of sexual harassment and assault following the high profile Harvey Weinstein case. And last week Hong Kong joined in the conversation.

Following in the footsteps of international movie stars, TV personalities, women in media and athletes; Hong Kong's "queen of hurdles", Vera Lui Lai-yiu, joined the #MeToo movement, posting an incident of sexual assault by her coach when she was 13. We applaud her bravery in coming forward. She is not alone in her experience. We know that calls to RainLily – a Hong Kong NGO that works with survivors of sexual assault - have doubled since the report. According to RainLily's reseach, only 10% of women who experience sexual assault seek help. We are hopeful the voices of Vera Lui and others will revolutionise attitudes to sexual assault and harassment, empower women to voice their stories should they wish, bring stricter measures of accountability to perpetrators and complicit institutions and help women begin to find the support and resolution they need.

In Vera's words, "Speaking up was my birthday present to myself….I am not ashamed as a victim. I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. I want you to applaud my courage.” See details in What We’re Reading below.

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The Women's Foundation