SINGAPORE: Women who play golf are 90 per cent more likely to serve on a board compared to women who don't, suggesting that those who participate in male-dominated social activities like golf are more accepted on predominantly male corporate boards.
These are the findings of a study conducted by the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School, which was released on Thursday (May 25).
It analysed a data set of more than 10,580 golfers and more than 1,640 directors from 2000 to 2014 from two sources - directors of more than 430 Singapore-based firms listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange over this period where they have actively traded over the last two years, and golfers’ handicap books from the same period matching directors with their golfing statistics.
The study found that among the board of directors, 90.6 per cent are male, while nine in 10 golfers are also male.
The study also noted that the trend is more evident among firms with larger market capitalisation, where female golfers are 125 per cent more likely to serve on a board compared to their male counterparts. By comparison, playing golf did not affect female board membership in small firms, it found.
Professor Sumit Agarwal, visiting professor of the Department of Finance at NUS Business School, said: “There is evidence of a gender glass ceiling, but there are means to overcome gender disparity. To mitigate this glass ceiling in corporate boards, women should not feel hindered but participate more freely in activities associated with career progression.
"In this case, golf is seen as effective in boosting women’s representation on corporate boards.”