Posted on 12/09/2016 by Marie Swarbreck
Meet panelist #7
Meet Sarah Bower, Partner, Chief Legal Counsel, China, KPMG China
Question 1 - Can you introduce yourself in a couple of sentences (or a couple of words)?
I am Sarah Bower, Partner and Chief Legal Counsel for KPMG China. Wife of Andrew and mother of 3 boys, Bernie, Fred and Sidney.
Question 2 - How has your company/position got you involved in the gender equity space? What are you currently doing to improve gender balance in HK?
At KPMG, we thought carefully about how we could best make a difference to improve gender balance in HK. There are now many organisations championing diversity, women’s issues and the empowerment of women in the workforce. Women’s networks are flourishing, as are mentoring and educational programs.
With so much great work going on, we decided to aim our support strategically at an area where there is still much work to do, which is also an area we know very well – corporate governance and improving the representation of women on Hong Kong boards.
KPMG is the global lead sponsor for the WomenCorporateDirectors Foundation (“WCD”) and I am the co-chair of the Hong Kong Chapter. We provide corporate governance best practice education for members and provide a forum for Hong Kong’s female board members to network and share ideas.
KPMG is also a lead sponsor for the Hong Kong chapter of the 30% Club and through our INED Forum, we continually provide NED and INED training and thought leadership to this group of emerging corporate leaders. We are also key sponsors for The Women’s Foundation.
I also lecture at the Harvey Nash/HKU Women’s Directorship course and sit of the Board of WiFA (Women in Finance, Asia), a subsidiary of ASIFMA.
Question 3 - What is your opinion on gender equity in HK?
When you compare Hong Kong to many other jurisdictions including the US and the UK, the number of women in executive and leadership roles is much better – many organisations can boast 30 – 40% of women in executive or leadership roles – the same number in many advanced economies is still sub 20%. There is an acceptance, even an understanding that women of a working age should work to support their families, and the infrastructure in Hong Kong (which often includes child support from extended family members and domestic help) supports this.
There is still work to do, to get that number to 50% and to improve the number of women in the C-suite and on boards, but with the momentum rapidly building, I am quietly optimistic!