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ISLAMABAD, Mar 05 (APP): Commissioner for Corporate Supervision of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Sadia Khan Friday said the proportion of listed companies with women directors showed an increase from 31 percent in 2017 to 58 percent in 2019.

Addressing the Global Diversity and Inclusion Benchmarks Awards, organised by the Centre for Global Inclusion USA, she said the number of women directors have increased by 3 percent since the regulations were introduced from 8.8 percent in 2017 to almost 12 percent in 2019. At the same time the number of Chairwomen increased from 24 to 33 (an increase of 37.5 percent).

The data, she concluded, clearly demonstrates positive influence of SECP regulations on board gender diversity in the listed companies.

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Similarly, she said there seemed to be a positive correlation between increased female presence on the board of a company and its performance.

Sadia shared the results of a recent study on women on boards, conducted jointly by SECP and PSX. She explained that the positive impact on women’s presence at decision making forums can be easily judged over time as exhibited by the Return on Assets (ROA) and Return on Equity (ROE) of companies with and without women.

In the year 2019, she told the participants that the ROA of companies without women was 1.73 percent, while it was 2.86 percent for companies having women directors on their board. Similarly, the ROE of companies without women was 9.4 percent and the ROE of companies with women directors was 14.83 percent.

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In order to encourage meaningful presence of women in boardrooms, she recommended that women need to remain in the pipeline; get accredited, and build their portfolio.

Companies should be making well-articulated diversity policies, approved at the Board level and implemented under its constant watch.

She added that adequate networking opportunities need to be given to senior women by nominating them on various industry forums.