Headlines:

  1. Only 17 per cent Malaysian businesses have a woman CEO – Grant Thornton
  2. Taking Gender Diversity in Business Beyond HR
  3. Digi celebrates diversity and inclusion this International Women’s Day
  4. Highlights From International Women’s Day
  5. Malaysia’s 200b yen Samurai bond priced at yield of 0.53%
  6. Government to remove fake news, racist posts from social media?

Only 17 per cent Malaysian businesses have a woman CEO – Grant Thornton
According to global professional services network, Grant Thornton International Ltd.only 17 per cent of businesses in Malaysia have a woman in the role of chief executive officer or managing director. In its latest “Women in Business” research, it was found that the percentage of women holding senior leadership positions in Malaysia also dropped to 23 per cent from 28 per cent recorded in March 2018. “Gender parity at the head of the table is still a significant way off,” it said in a statement today.

Taking Gender Diversity in Business Beyond HR
The 30% Club has launched a Strategy Best Practices Working Group to help businesses incorporate gender diversity into company-wide strategy development and beyond the traditional scope of HR. The Group’s principal aim is to develop and share best practices and recommendations on gender-related activity across common business areas. It is reviewing key processes in businesses, outside of HR, to assess what can be updated to limit potential gender bias and drive better outcomes. Co-chaired by Brenda Trenowden, CBE, 30% Club Global Chair and Daniel Klier, Group Head of Strategy, HSBC, the Group also includes participation from Aviva, Diageo, GSK, Unilever and Vodafone. Brenda Trenowden, CBE, 30% Club Global Chair and Head of FIG, Europe, ANZ Bank, commented: “From inception, the 30% Club Campaign has been working to drive better gender balance in organisations because it makes good business sense.  As efforts to improve the representation of women in leadership teams and across employee populations continue, we are delighted that our members want to better understand and connect activity across other key stakeholder groups, such as customers and suppliers. This can drive a more holistic approach to gender across everything that organisations do.” Daniel Klier, Group Head of Strategy, HSBC, commented: “Over the past decade, the 30% Club has played a critical role around the world helping organisations build their understanding of what they can do to drive gender balance.  We are excited to be launching the Strategy Best Practices Working Group to take the diversity discussion beyond its current boundaries and fully embed it into the way we think and work across the entire firm.”

Digi celebrates diversity and inclusion this International Women’s Day
This year, Digi is celebrating International Women’s Day by focusing on diversity and inclusion. With the belief that people are their greatest asset, Digi hopes to facilitate a shared and open conversation on how to build a more balanced world – beginning with the workplace. Elisabeth Stene, Digi’s Chief Human Resource Officer shared: “Digi believes that emphasis on diversity and inclusion in terms of age, nationality, gender, ability and experience matters for the future sustainability and growth of the company. By striving for better balance across the organisation, we aim to further our commitment to diversity and inclusion, and give equal opportunity for all Digizens to grow in their careers.” With respect to women in the workplace, Digi has implemented solid practices to empower more women to be a part of its talent pool and leadership pipeline. These practices include the Women Inspirational Network that nurtures women leaders, a Board Diversity Policy, a 6-month maternity policy, and flexible work arrangements that support employees through every stage of their work and family life. These efforts have helped Digi achieve a balanced workforce, which consists of 50% female and male employees, and balanced leadership representation as well. Women represent 46% of our senior leaders, with 25% women represented on the Management team, and 57% of women represented on our Board. Riding on this year’s International Women’s Day theme of #BalanceForBetter, Digi hosted a series of activities for its employees to share insights on bringing balance to all aspects of work, life and society.

9 Highlights From International Women’s Day
For the week surrounding International Women’s Day, women’s issues get extra attention. Here’s what we’re talking about in 2019 on Women’s Day.
1. Marvel Comics finally has a female superhero.  It has been 14 years since Marvel Comics had a female superhero lead her own film (and the last one apparently didn’t go so well).  Deliberately timed to coincide with International Women’s Day, Captain Marvel will open this Friday and star actress Brie Larson.
2. For the first time ever, an all-female crew will conduct a spacewalk.  NASA astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch will carry out the spacewalk at the end of this month. Another woman, Kristen Facciol will be on the console at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston supporting their mission.
3. Only six countries in the world give women and men equal legal work rights. The World Bank found that Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia, Luxembourg and Sweden were the only countries in the world to have a perfect score for gender equality in laws affecting work.  The good news is that this represents a big improvement over a decade ago when no country received a perfect score for equal legal rights.  The bad news is we still have a long way to go.
4. Momazonians demand backup daycare.  A group of working mothers at Amazon that calls itself the Momazonians is asking Amazon to provide backup childcare.  Giving workers access to emergency care when their child is sick or the school is closed would be a big boon for the working moms (especially since moms still take on the majority of childcare responsibilities).  If Amazon agrees, it would set a great precedent for other retailers to follow.
5. Women won a record-breaking 15 Oscars this year – In 2018, only six women won Oscars (and two of them, best actress and best supporting actress must be awarded to women).
6. Has Tubman been dumped from $20 bill? During the Obama administration, the Treasury Department made a decision to replace Andrew Jackson’s picture on the $20 bill with face of Harriet Tubman.  Under the Trump administration, the fate of the Tubman $20 is less secure.  The Treasury Department is still not saying if it plans to release a new $20 bill with Tubman’s photo.  Why it’s important:  Having all male faces on our currency reinforces stereotypes that men make better leaders.
7. Bad news from the research community on gender stereotypes and gender equity.  The first study found that when people see more women at the top levels of leadership, they become less concerned about gender equity elsewhere.  This is a problem, because more women at the top levels does not necessarily translate to more equity at the lower levels.  The second research study provided evidence that women lack confidence in their ability to compete in fields in which men are stereotypically believed to perform more strongly.  So women have less confidence in fields such as science, math, and technology.
8. Venture Capital has a gender problem.  Only 9% of partners in VC firms are women.  And with men controlling the purse strings for startups, who gets the VC dollars? One research study shows that 93 percent of venture money went to start-ups with all-male founding teams last year.
9.Women wearing purple. Just in case you hadn’t heard, if you’re supporting International Women’s Day, you should be wearing purple.  On Election Day 2016 it was white, at the Emmy’s it was black, and now, for International Women’s Day, we’re supposed to wear purple.  What message does it send that there’s a fashion component to celebrating women?

Malaysia’s 200b yen Samurai bond priced at yield of 0.53%
The Malaysian Government’s 200bil yen 10-year Samurai bonds due 2029 were successfully priced at a yield of 0.53%.bThe Finance Ministry said that including the guarantee fee of 0.1% per annum, the total cost to the government amounted to 0.63% per annum. This marks the government’s return to the Japanese yen bond market after a 30-year absence. This will be the largest Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) guaranteed sovereign bond issuance in the market. As part of a government-to-government arrangement, the issuance is guaranteed by JBIC under its “Guarantee and Acquisition toward Tokyo market Enhancement (GATE)” programme, the first JBIC guarantee undertaken by Malaysia.  MoF said the guarantee was part of the effort by both Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to foster closer economic and cultural ties between Malaysia and Japan.  “Proceeds from the offering will be used by the Government for its general purposes, financing development expenditures that among others include building schools, hospitals, public roads and utilities,” it said. The issuance process started with a two-day investor roadshow in Tokyo in February followed by an official marketing exercise early this month. MoF said during the engagement period, investors expressed strong interest towards the issuance and this reflected their confidence towards Malaysia’s stable macroeconomic fundamentals, governance and structural reforms. The issuance was received extremely well across the investor spectrum and picked up by quality Japanese investors.  These investors were specialised banks (37.9%), city banks (35%), life insurance companies (13.9%), regional banks (6.5%), shinkin banks (3.8%) and others (2.9%). Mizuho Bank, HSBC Malaysia and Daiwa Securities in collaboration with Affin Hwang Investment Bank acted as joint lead arrangers and bookrunners for this issuance.

Government mulls authorising MCMC to remove fake news, racist posts from social media
The government is looking into the possibility to authorise the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to remove fake news and racist posts from social media. Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said it was among the measures discussed in line with the government’s intention to enact legislation addressing the abuse of social media. The minister said the matter was still being discussed with the relevant parties and the new legislation was expected to be tabled at Parliament by July at the latest.