Olivia Parker
Nov 7, 2018

HK's The Women's Foundation calls out boardroom gender bias

Non-profit The Women's Foundation and its 30% Club Hong Kong, launched in 2013 to raise awareness of the perks of gender diversity, have released a new campaign aiming to reduce gender bias in boardrooms.

"I just wonder why so few men have connections here."

"We've had a male director before, and it just didn't work." 

"We have a male P.A. who looks after the board, so you won't feel so alone." 

While it is all too easy to imagine such bias-loaded phrases being spoken to a woman, it is more of a challenge to think of them being directed to a man being interviewed for a board position, as is the scenario presented in this video by The Women's Foundation (TWF) and The 30% Club Hong Kong, which calls for more Hong Kong companies to appoint women to their boards. 

Featuring three of the city's top female leaders — Susanna Hui, executive director and group managing director of HKT; Teresa Ko, China chairman and partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer; and Irene Lee, chairman of Hysan Development Company Limited and chair of The 30% Club Hong Kong — the video is a provocative way to highlight some of the prevailing attitudes that prevent more women from joining boards.

According to the most recent report by the non-profit Community Business, released this year, the representation of women on boards in Hong Kong's top listed companies has only increased marginally in the last decade, from 8.9% in 2009 to 13.8% in 2018. And of 51 Hang Seng Index companies in Hong Kong, 10 — including China Mobile, Tencent Holdings and China Resources Land — still have all-male boards. 

This makes the targets sets by The 30% Club to achieve 20% female representation by 2020 and zero all-male boards by the end of 2018 seems unlikely to be met. 

Irene Lee, chairman of Hysan Development Company Limited and chair of The 30% Club Hong Kong

The video exists in both English and Cantonese versions and its title, 'Flipping The Script', is borrowed from a similar film produced by the Australian Institude of Company Directors. 

“We must keep advocating for change and progress," said Fiona Nott, CEO of TWF. "Hong Kong still lags far behind other global financial centres with female directors comprising 29% in UK and 30% In Australia. Hong Kong’s progress has stalledwith only 13% female directors of HSI companies despite the strong business case that shows that gender diverse boards and management teams are good for business.”


Merchant Cantos, part of Brunswick Group, helped produce this video. 

Related Articles

Just Published

2 hours ago

Creative Minds: Ariel Chen takes the 'road of no ...

We get to know the group creative director at BBDO Shanghai through her answers to 11 questions. Learn about how she got into advertising, why she ascribes to the 'Underachiever's Manifesto', and the secret talent that helps her stay happy.

3 hours ago

LG Signature takes inspiration from Sydney Dance ...

INSPIRATION STATION: Who wouldn't be awed by these amazing photos of dancers in action? LG's new pact not only supports the company but gives select customers the chance to learn from the best.

5 hours ago

Spikes Asia announces 2022 jury presidents

Fourteen industry leaders from across APAC, evenly split male-female, will help set the region’s benchmark in creative excellence and effectiveness.

5 hours ago

Campaign Creation Stories: How Pocari Sweat and ...

Otsuka Pharmaceuticals and Dentsu wanted to revitalise Pocari Sweat's brand message for young people in a post-pandemic world. See the astonishing, dreamlike film they came up with and hear the inside story of its creation directly from the brand and agency.