Do female leadership numbers tell the whole tale?

Female representation on Lankan boards may not be as bad as the numbers show. It’s significant where it counts

As the business case for gender diversity in the boardroom grows, more companies globally are seeing the benefits of having women on boards and involved in decision-making. However, back home, out of the over 1,500 board directors in CSE-listed companies, only 8.2% were women as at December 2017, according to CSE statistics.

But in actuality, it is significant where it counts.

In a recent survey conducted by IFS in collaboration with the Colombo Stock Exchange, the finance corporate lists the representation of CSE board directorships held by women by sector.

The highest quotas of women as board directors are held by the banking, finance and insurance sector at 28.9% (72 companies); hotels and travels at 15.7% (40); and beverage, food and tobacco at 10.3% (23). Another large sector, diversified holdings, stands at 4.9% (19). A majority of the remaining sectors had less than 2% of women on boards.

What’s more, banking, finance and insurance contributed 55% to total market earnings; beverage, food and tobacco 11%; and diversified holdings 13% in the quarter ending December 2017, according to EconomyNext.com.

Looking at the bigger picture, of the 299 companies listed on the CSE, 154 are present in just these four sectors, which represent the country’s largest corporates. So essentially, female representation in corporates that contribute the most to the economy is significant.