SINGAPORE: Two Singaporean firms, DBS Bank and City Developments Limited (CDL), were among 104 recognised for their gender-equality efforts in the 2018 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index launched on Monday (Jan 22).
The sector-neutral reference index measures gender equality across internal company statistics, employee policies, external community support and engagement, and gender-conscious product offerings, Bloomberg said in a press release.
Firms on the index - which is not ranked - submitted a survey and scored at or above a global threshold established by Bloomberg to reflect disclosure and the achievement or adoption of "best-in-class statistics and policies", it added.
DBS and CDL said in a separate press release on Tuesday that Singapore companies made up a third of the six Asian companies, excluding Japan, included in the index. CDL is also the only real estate management and development company named in the index, they noted.
DBS CEO Piyush Gupta called it a "milestone moment" to be recognised on the index.
"We believe gender, generational and cultural diversity is our source of strength. We believe that when you achieve a critical mass of women across all levels, this will make a difference in an organisation’s ability to succeed and contributes to our ability to consistently punch above our weight," he said in a press release.
According to Mr Gupta, women form 60 per cent of DBS’ overall workforce, 40 per cent of its senior management and 30 per cent of its Group Management Committee, which sets the bank's strategy and direction, in Singapore.
CDL CEO Sherman Kwek also said the real estate firm has "always believed in the importance of gender diversity and strived hard to make it part of our corporate culture and inherent within our workforce".
"It has enabled us to benefit hugely from the unique perspectives and immense creativity which different individuals across both genders bring to the table. By harnessing the diversity of our talent pool represented by different genders, age groups, ethnicities, cultures, geographies and backgrounds, it has given us a strong strategic advantage when it comes to decision-making and operations," he said.
Mr Kwek stated that women make up about 70 per cent of CDL’s workforce and 40 per cent of its department heads.
Bloomberg said this year's index represents 24 countries and regions, including firms headquartered in Belgium, Chile, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Singapore and Taiwan. Companies range from a variety of sectors, including communications, consumer staples, energy, financials, materials and technology.
Of those on the index, the firms had women holding an average of 26.2 per cent of position on boards, 26 per cent of senior leadership positions and 19 per cent of executive officer roles. They also earned 46 per cent of promotions in 2016, according to Bloomberg.
The percentage of executive level positions held by women in member firms on the index increased 33.5 per cent from fiscal year 2014 to 2016.
Sixty-seven per cent of members on the index reported evaluating all advertising and marketing content for gender biases before they were published, while 65 per cent are signatories to or members of organisations advocating for gender equality.
Kiersten Barnet, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Chairman at Bloomberg, said that as investors continue to seek more information on companies’ approaches to environmental, social and governance factors, the 2018 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index allows investors to compare companies’ commitments to gender equality across industries.
“More data and greater transparency in this space will allow investors to make better-informed decisions and help companies better understand their own progress towards gender equality," Ms Barnet added.