The number of female executives in senior management positions at Philippine companies plummeted to 37 percent in 2019 from 47 percent in 2018, according to Grant Thornton International Ltd.’s Women in Business 2019 report.
P&A Grant Thornton chairperson and chief executive Marivic Españo said the dip did not take into account the government’s recent measures to provide flexible working arrangements for women.
Españo said, however, that Filipino women still play significant roles in their organizations with top three roles of Filipino women in business as human resources director, chief finance officer and chief operating officer.
Filipino businesses were observed as taking different measures to improve or preserve the gender balance in leadership teams, according to the report.
These initiatives included ensuring equal access to development work opportunities, providing mentoring and coaching and enabling flexible working environment.
Female executives in the Philippines cited the lack of access to developmental work opportunities, finding time alongside core job responsibilities, caring responsibilities outside work and lack of access to networking opportunities as barriers that stopped them from acquiring the skills and attributes to be successful in their roles.
The percentage of businesses globally with at least one woman in senior management rose to 87 percent, an increase of 12 percent from last year. Based on data from the global survey, publicly owned companies are almost twice as likely to have women in senior management positions.
Overall, women now hold 29 percent of senior leadership positions globally.
While this was only up 10 percent over the past 15 years of research, half of the increase was achieved in the last 12 months alone.
When it comes to the role of the CEO or managing director, only 15 percent of businesses globally have a woman leading the business.
“If we want to continue seeing female representation in senior positions, more deliberate action needs to be taken and leaders will play a crucial role. Policies that address equal opportunity in careers, bias in recruitment, and flexible working cannot just be a nice to have,” Españo said.
“To achieve meaningful progress, they must be adhered to, enforced, and regularly revisited to assess their effectiveness and, when that is combined with real commitment from senior leadership, you begin creating a truly inclusive culture,” she said.
Españo said gender diversity is definitely right for business as there is compelling evidence of the relationship between diversity of thought and innovation, leading to enhanced business performance.
“Furthermore, women and men are equally capable of good leadership; the critical point is that diverse leadership teams tend to outperform their socially homogenous rivals,” she said.