Filipinas rule the board room: PH 2nd in world for females in top posts

Katherine Visconti

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The Philippines came in 2nd only to Russia in a ranking of countries with women in senior management positions

SIZING UP GENDER DIFFERENCES. Regional and country averages for percentage of women in senior management mapped out. Photo courtesy of The Grant Thornton International Business Report 2012.

MANILA, Philippines – The country famous for people power is now getting attention for a different type of power: women power. 

The Philippines came in second only to Russia in a ranking of countries by the percentage of women in senior management positions. 

The Grant Thornton International Business Report 2012 found that 39% of senior management roles in the country are held by Filipinas, putting the country at par with Thailand and Botswana. 

TOP TEN. Courtesy of the Grant Thornton International Business Report 2012. 

The 2012 report shows that Southeast Asia has the highest level of female participation at 32%, well above the global average of 21%, and well above America’s 17%. 

The survey’s ranking for the bottom 10 economies included: Mexico, Germany, and Japan.

BOTTOM TEN. Courtesy of the Grant Thornton International Business Report 2012.


Why it’s important to have women on board

These percentages matter. Studies show that making sure women are represented in the boardroom and top leadership positions pays dividends, quite literally: 

  • Businesses with more women on their boards outperformed their rivals with 42% higher sales, 66% higher returns on invested capital, and 53% higher returns on equity, according to a study in Women on Boards: The Lord Davies’ Report from 2011.


  • Having at least 1 female board member cut a company’s chance of going bankrupt by 20%, and having 2 or 3 reduced the odds even further, according to a Leeds University Business School study covered in The Times in 2009.


  • Companies with a proportion of women in top management that was higher than the industry average showed stronger stock market growth in a 2007 study by McKinsey & Company.

TAKING STOCK. Courtesy of McKinsey & Company's 'Women Matter: gender diversity, a corporate performance driver.'

A depressing global picture

Only 3% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. The report points out that globally, just 9% of CEOs are women. Though the figures are better in Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) with 15% of businesses led by women as opposed to only 6% in North America.

FLEXIBLE HOURS. The Grant Thornton International Business Report 2012 couldn't find a strong correlation between the proportion of women in business and the availability of flexible working practices – such as working from home or variable hours.   

Women are best represented in human resources and finance. Perhaps Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Jacinto Henares rings a bell.  

Though the Philippines and other Asean countries stand out for the number of women in leadership positions, the fact is, averages for Asean and other developing countries have been declining since 2009. 

There aren’t as many women at the top of business as men. There is still a glass ceiling in most countries.

LITTLE HAS CHANGED. Courtesy of The Grant Thornton International Business Report 2012.

Various solutions have been proposed. The European parliament is considering a 40% quota for the number of female board directors. 

Meanwhile in Canada, Québec successfully reached a 50/50 breakdown on boards of state-owned enterprises in 2011 after passing legislation mandating gender equality in 2006. 

The fact remains that about one in every 2 people on earth is a woman, but in none of the countries polled was one in every 2 senior managers a woman. 

The report points out that women have made steady progress since the 1970s but gender parity in top positions is not yet a reality. –

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