30% Club Malaysia Celebrates New Milestone For Gender Diversity In Corporate Malaysia

A significant milestone has been achieved in Corporate Malaysia with women holding 30.6% of board seats of the top 100 public listed companies (PLCs) and close to 25% of seats of all PLCs on Bursa Malaysia, based on data provided by the Securities Commission.

The achievement, proclaimed as a first step for meaningful gender diversity on Malaysia’s boards, was achieved on 1 June 2023, six months ahead of the 30% Club’s target date of 31 December 2023.

Dato’ Ami Moris, Chair of the 30% Club Malaysia and Advisor at Maybank Group said, “The 30% representation is seen to be a tipping point in providing women leaders with an influential voice, and for boards to move closer to gender parity. The biggest jump in women on board representation was recorded from 2021 due to Bursa’s Listing Requirements for all PLCs to have at least one woman director by 1 June 2023, supported by the collective action of leaders of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI).”

“There is increasing push for DEI efforts to serve Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) imperatives. As it evolves, DEI is about winning the battle for talent to future proof organisations for growth and innovation. Numerous studies have shown that companies with more diverse boards tend to outperform and are ahead on achieving their climate action goals. Investors are likewise scrutinising boards for their diversity.”

Stepping up on ambitions and goals Building on the momentum for diversity, the 30% Club aims to help catalyse more PLCs to achieve 30% women representation on boards. As of 1 June 2023, 45 of the top 100 and over 700 of all PLCs have yet to do so.

Dato’ Ami said, “When the 30% Club was established in Malaysia in 2015, its 30% goal was thought to be highly ambitious. As comparison in the UK, women now hold nearly 40% of board seats of FTSE100 companies. Our next target is for parity of men and women on all PLCs by 2030. It’s a huge ambition, but not one that we shy away from.”

The continued success of the 30% Club Malaysia is attributed to leveraging its three strategic pillars:

● Activate Pillar – Activating Corporate Advocates that are interested in leading and signalling their DEI efforts. To date, 51 organisations have joined the 30% Club campaign. This year they include institutional investors, Khazanah Nasional Berhad and Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB).

● Influence Pillar – Engaging key stakeholders to embed DEI in public policies and advocate for DEI across their ecosystems. The 30% Club had worked with the Institutional Investors Council (IIC) to include 30% women on board representation in its revised Malaysian Code for Institutional Investors.

● Enable Pillar – Building a sustainable pipeline of board-ready women leaders and professionals through various initiatives such as the Board Mentoring Scheme in collaboration with PwC.

Since 2017, 106 women have been mentored, and 41% of them have secured board positions. Since October 2021, the 30% Club Malaysia received active support from Maybank, its corporate sponsor. that marked a new chapter in the business-led campaign’s journey.

Dato’ Ami added, “As more companies embrace DEI, the demand for board-ready women candidates is set to accelerate. Increasingly, we are seeing more women with sustainability, digital technology and international background securing board seats.”

“I would urge companies to move from mentoring to sponsoring women leaders in the boardrooms and senior leadership. This involves more active and concerted efforts to get women with the right competencies and skillsets to the right seats.”

Appointing new leadership and resources Committed to strengthening and sustaining its business campaign, the 30% Club Malaysia is also pleased to announce its new steering committee with effect 1 July 2023, comprising the following.

Chair: Dato’ Ami Moris, Advisor, Maybank Group

● Activate Pillar, led by Marzida Mohd Noor, INED, Affin Bank * Frances Po, INED, Sentral REIT Management

● Influence Pillar, led by Rejina Rahim, Co-Founder, Wahine Capital * Ar. Ahila Ganesan, INED, Velesto Energy * Low Ngai Yuen, INED, GDEX and OCK

● Enable Pillar – talent engagement led by * Raj Kumar Paramanathan, Managing Partner, CnetG Asia * Geetha Kandiah, CEO, KASS International

● Enable Pillar – Board Mentoring Scheme led by Pauline Ho, Partner, PwC Malaysia * Norlela Baharudin, ED, Berjaya Corporation, and INED, Prokhas * Shireen Iqbal, CEO and ED, Alpha REIT Managers, and INED, UM Properties * New co-leads in their respective pillars.

The committee includes the Marketing, Communications and Secretariat leads: • Noelle Lim, Maybank Investment Banking Group

• Jacinta Vythilingam, Spinmeister Communications

• Syaheera Abdul Hamid, Maybank Investment Banking Group

• Wan Mazlina Wan Mustafa

The 30% Club is also pleased to announce that TBWA\Malaysia, part of the TBWA\Worldwide creative collective, has come onboard to assist with creative and campaign efforts.

TBWA has been named by Fast Company as one of the world’s most innovative companies in 2023, for the fifth year in a row since 2019.

Dato’ Ami said, “The skills and experiences of the new steering committee and professionals reflect the intensity of the 30% Club’s work going forward. On this note, I wish to thank the previous committee members for their dedication and invaluable contribution in laying the foundation for success. They have played an instrumental role in shaping the direction of the Malaysian chapter of the 30% Club, and serve as an inspiration to all of us. They remain as stalwart advocates.”

The steering committee takes advice and guidance from the Advisory Council comprising Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar, Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah, Dato’ Abdul Aziz Abu Bakar, and Anne Abraham.

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