Boardroom Diversity

Gender imbalance at top of organisations to be addressed by joint programme.

Boardroom Diversity

Asia Pacific


Harvey Nash and The University of Hong Kong, Executive Education of the Faculty of Business and Economics, have created an initiative to tackle the existing gender diversity imbalance in boardrooms around the world. The Women’s Directorship Programme is billed as the world’s first certificated, cross-industry, international board preparedness programme for women and will be held in Hong Kong in April 2013. 

“Business success hinges on a gender-balanced boardroom for continued growth,” says Nick Marsh, Managing Director, Harvey Nash Asia Pacific. “Not only does it improve performance and create a strong talent pipeline by accessing a wider talent pool, a balanced boardroom also serves to leverage broader perspectives and leadership styles, bringing the best out of a business.”

The programme will be led by a number of esteemed international professors and involve real life case studies and thought leadership delivered by industry leaders who are champions of diversity in the boardroom. Ultimately it is hoped the programme will increase the supply of board ready women executives across industries.

According to the programme’s designers, board members today face new challenges and have increased governance responsibilities since new waves of reform swept in.  Directors need to be better prepared – beyond just compliance – to represent the interests of shareholders and stakeholders. Gender-balanced boards are proven to result in greater business success.

Despite this, men continue to dominate the top ranks of nearly every firm across the world. Women currently represent less than 10 per cent of all board level positions; although across the world, they make up more than 45 per cent of the workforce. This gender imbalance in the executive suite costs firms money. Companies that fail to retain and promote women to top leadership positions experience a significant drain on resources and talent. A McKinsey study found that companies with the highest female representation in top management positions achieved returns on equity 35 per cent higher than companies with the lowest female representation.


“We recognise there is no one size fits all solution when it comes to addressing the lack of women in leadership positions across the world and there is no magic strategy for a woman to reach the top in her career,” comments Professor Amy H. Lau, Director of Executive Education, Faculty of Business and Economics. “However this programme is aimed at helping participants develop their own set of strategies tailored to their career ambitions, situation and personality, recognising that these will evolve over time as new challenges arise and elements in their lives change. We want to drive this agenda forward and demonstrate our commitment to making a change.” 

Nick Marsh added: “Harvey Nash’s partnership with Executive Education of the Faculty of Business and Economics demonstrates our dedication to investing in the Asia Pacific region and in future female talent. Although there is a great deal of talk about gender imbalance in the boardroom we are committed to taking action to tackle the issue and enable women to achieve the positions they deserve.”

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