The 30% Club Hong Kong (30% Club HK) and The Women’s Foundation (TWF) have released a video featuring some of Hong Kong’s most prominent women business leaders to highlight the lack of gender diversity on Hong Kong boards. The video echoes Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s annual policy address last month that included a strong call for all Hong Kong listed companies to appoint more women on their boards. In Hong Kong, women represent only 13% of directors for Hang Seng Index companies and around one in three listed companies have all-male boards.
With the title “Flipping the Script”, the video addresses the unconscious bias women candidates face before they even have a chance to enter the boardroom, in an effort to raise public awareness around gender diversity on boards. It features some of Hong Kong’s most prominent female business leaders such as Susanna Hui, Executive Director and Group Managing Director of HKT; Teresa Ko, China Chairman and Partner of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer; and Irene Lee, Chairman of Hysan Development Company Limited and Chair of 30% Club Hong Kong.
Influenced by a similar film under the same title by the Australian Institute of Company Directors and 30% Club in Australia, the Hong Kong version includes both an English and Cantonese release and covers some of the key obstacles that many women business leaders still face in Hong Kong as they try to get on to corporate boards. The video stages biased interviewers who intentionally pose stereotypical, discriminatory and irrelevant questions that women frequently get asked when interviewing for board positions in Hong Kong.
The video was first screened during the 30% Club HK’s sixth annual Boardroom Lunch in September 2018, a gathering that brought together accomplished, board-ready women and Board Directors and senior executives from leading companies in order to introduce more women to corporate boards in Hong Kong.
During the Boardroom Lunch, Irene Lee, Chair of 30% Club HK, said: “Hong Kong has a deep talent pool of women. Let’s stop the bias and focus on achieving greater gender diversity on Hong Kong boards. Because what is good for business, is also good for Hong Kong.”
Fiona Nott, CEO of The Women’s Foundation, said: “We must keep advocating for change and progress. Hong Kong still lags far behind other global financial centres with female directors comprising 29% in UK and 30% In Australia. Hong Kong’s progress has stalled with only 13% female directors of HSI companies despite the strong business case that shows that gender diverse Boards and management teams are good for business. We have produced this video to highlight the barriers women often face in accessing the Boardroom and hope it will inspire debate that will lead to sustainable change in Hong Kong.”
About 30% Club HK
The 30% Club HK was launched in March 2013, three years after the inaugural chapter was established in the UK. With 55 members from Hong Kong’s listed companies, together with other senior multinational, advisory and statutory members, it is set up as a volunteer organisation run by a Steering Committee of women and men who are leaders in the Hong Kong business community.
The 30% Club believes gender balance on boards not only encourages better leadership and governance, but diversity further contributes to better all-round board performance, and ultimately increased corporate performance for both companies and their shareholders. The 30% Club aims to develop a diverse pool of talent for all businesses through the efforts of its Chair and CEO members who are committed to better gender balance at all levels of their organisations. Business leadership is key to our mission, taking the issue beyond a specialist diversity effort and into mainstream talent management. The 30% Club approach – collaborative, concerted business-led efforts – can help accelerate progress towards better gender balance at all levels of organisations.
The 30% Club does not believe mandatory quotas are the right approach. Instead, we support a voluntary approach to realise meaningful, sustainable change. 30% Club efforts are complementary to individual company efforts and existing networking groups, adding to these through collaboration and the visible and voluntary commitment of senior business leaders.
Follow the 30% Club HK on Twitter: @30percentclubHK, #30percentHK. You can find a list of 30% Club HK members, as well as a list of the Steering Committee members, on our website.
About The Women’s Foundation
The Women’s Foundation is a Hong Kong registered not-for-profit organisation dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls in Hong Kong. TWF is focused on challenging gender stereotypes, increasing the number of women in decision-making and leadership roles, and empowering women in poverty through ground-breaking research, innovative and impactful community programmes, and education and advocacy.
Brunswick Group Hong Kong