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MALAYSIA has the highest ratio of women – 26.4 percent in the top 100 publicly listed companies – of any Asian country, according to a study by the 30 Percent Club, a global nonprofit that advocates having more women in boardrooms.

That is higher than the proportion of women in similar positions in the United States – 23.6 percent – and on par with Canada at 26.6 percent.

Malaysia also has the highest percentage of women – 33 percent – in senior management teams compared with a global average of 29 percent, according to the 2020 Grant Thornton International Business Report.

Women are becoming a greater presence on boards in many developed countries too, the study stated.

Last year marked the first time ever that women made up 30 percent of board positions of companies listed on the UK’s FTSE 350 index, according to data compiled by the 30 Percent Club. It is now a similar story in Australia.

The same trend has been reflected in senior management, where 87 percent of midsized companies globally have at least one woman in senior management, an increase of almost 20 percent over the last five years, according to Grant Thornton’s research.

Besides, the latest research suggests that hiring more women is actually paying off for firms.

An S&P Global study in 2019 found that companies with female leaders became more profitable and posted better share price growth compared with the market average.

In the UK, achieving 30 percent of women in boardrooms was driven by the private sector and supported by the media, reports said.

Globally, only 16.9 percent of women held board seats in 2019, a 1.9 percent increase from 2017, according to a report by Deloitte. An even smaller percentage are chairs: only 5.3 percent in 2019, and only 4.4 percent are CEOs, the report said.