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CDL, DBS, UOB, Singtel, SGX recognised in Bloomberg's gender equality index

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CDL's women department heads with group CEO Sherman Kwek (centre) and group general manager Chia Ngiang Hong (fifth from left). Women employees form two-thirds of CDL's workforce and half of its department heads.

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The women of DBS' group management committee: (top row, from left) Eng-Kwok Seat Moey, head of capital markets group; Chng Sok Hui, chief financial officer; Tan Su Shan, head of institutional banking; (bottom row, from left) Lee Yan Hong, head of group human resources; Pearlyn Phau, deputy group head of consumer banking and wealth management; and Karen Ngui, head of group strategic marketing and communications.

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About 30 per cent of women at UOB hold senior management positions. Among the department heads who report directly to the group CEO or a country CEO, 40 per cent are women.

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SGX's senior female executives include (from left) Agnes Koh, chief risk officer; Teo Ai June, head of marketing and communications; Tinku Gupta, chief technology officer; Janice Kan, head of markets, equities; and Alison King, head of trading and clearing services, equities.

FIVE Singapore-listed companies have made the cut for the 2020 edition of Bloomberg's Gender-Equality Index (GEI) launched on Tuesday night.

They are City Developments Limited (CDL), DBS, United Overseas Bank (UOB), Singtel and the Singapore Exchange (SGX).

SGX is the only newcomer on the index. DBS and CDL are being featured for the third year running, while UOB and Singtel are making their second appearances.

The latest index has been expanded to include 325 companies headquartered across 42 countries, up from 230 companies across 36 countries in 2019. 

Those featured in the index came from industries including automotive, banking, consumer services, engineering and construction, and retail. Nearly 6,000 companies globally were considered for inclusion in the index this year.

At CDL, women form 67 per cent of the workforce and half of its department heads, the property developer said in a media statement on Tuesday night. In the past five years, female employees have consistently comprised more than 65 per cent of CDL's workforce. The number of women department heads in CDL has also "steadily" increased over the past few years.

Meanwhile, DBS chief executive Piyush Gupta said women have been a key driving force behind the bank's performance. They comprise 60 per cent of the bank's employees, 40 per cent of senior management and a third of its group management committee.

As for UOB, women accounted for 60.9 per cent of its total workforce as at end-2019, and held 35 per cent of senior management positions. Among the department heads reporting directly to the group chief executive officer (CEO) or country CEO, 40 per cent were women. Half of the bank's middle management were also women. In 2018, women made up 62.9 per cent of promotions across the bank, UOB noted.

SGX chief executive Loh Boon Chye said half of the bourse operator's employees are female, and close to 30 per cent of the women at SGX hold senior positions. Some 27 per cent of its board is represented by female directors, which is above the Council for Board Diversity's (CBD) target of 20 per cent and the highest in the financial sector among the top 100 Singapore-listed companies, according to Mr Loh, who is co-chair of CBD.

"Singapore has made commendable progress in board gender diversity," Mr Loh said. The proportion of women on the boards of the largest 100 companies that are primary-listed on the Singapore bourse has doubled from 7.5 per cent in 2014 to 15.7 per cent as at end-June 2019.

Bloomberg's GEI tracks the financial performance of public companies which are committed to supporting gender equality through policy development, representation, and transparency. 

It measures gender equality across five pillars – female leadership and talent pipeline, equal pay and gender pay parity, inclusive culture, sexual harassment policies, and a pro-women brand.

Bloomberg said that the firms included in this year's index had scored at or above the global threshold established to reflect a high level of disclosure and overall performance across the five pillars.

The framework allows investors to compare how companies around the world are investing in women in the workplace, supply chain and communities they operate in, Bloomberg said. It added the GEI is a reference index and should not be used as a financial benchmark.

Bloomberg chairman Peter Grauer said the 325 companies included in the 2020 GEI have shown their commitment to transparency and demonstrated leadership in gender-related data reporting.

"Disclosure of company statistics and practices is an important first step in supporting gender equality globally," he added.