SECP measures gender diversity on boards and business leadership in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: In a Webinar organized by the Pakistan Institute of Corporate Governance (PICG) and the Centre of Excellence in Responsible Business (CERB), Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Commissioner, Sadia Khan, presented the latest data from Pakistan on women on boards and in business leadership.

The data was compiled by a joint team from SECP and Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX), in order to gain valuable insights into the impact of the regulatory changes brought about in 2017 which made the presence of at least one female director on the boards of listed companies mandatory.

The results show a meaningful increase in the number of women directors in listed companies, from 9% in 2015 to 12% in 2019. During the same period, number of companies with female directors increased from 30% to 56%. The proportionate representation of independent female directors has also increased from 6.7% to 14.6%. The number of female chairpersons has also increased by 50% during the same period. The sectors with the highest number of women on their boards in 2019 include the Textile and Manufacturing sectors. However, representation still remains low compared with global statistics which show women as holding almost 17% of the board seats worldwide.

The study also measured the financial impact of having greater gender diversity on the boards of companies using the return on assets (ROA) and return on equity (ROE) values of companies with and without women. The results here also show some correlation between gender diversity and average financial performance.

The participants of the webinar appreciated the initiative taken by SECP to collect and share this data since subsequent changes in regulations can be facilitated by these data-driven decisions.

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