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Saturday, Sep 13, 2014

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Gender quota undermines women's achievements

The Straits Times | Saturday, Sep 13, 2014

I agree with Mr Lawrence Loh Kiah Muan that there should not be a quota for female directors on the boards of listed companies ("Base board appointments on merit, not gender"; Monday), as there is no true benefit or value in such affirmative action.

A board of directors serves to safeguard the company's interests and ensures its stakeholders are well protected.

A person who is "forced" to join the board without any understanding of the position or the demands of such a role could even face criminal action.

There has been no conclusive study that shows a positive correlation between a person's views and the person's gender.

What is necessary is for the person to be able to understand the workings and purpose of the organisation.

For example, the board of the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware) is made up of only females.

I do not suggest that no man can ever understand the intricacies of women's welfare. However, it may well be that Aware's members found that females are in a better position to understand the issues that women face and are better able to contribute to the organisation.

Adopting affirmative action would only cast a shadow on women who have achieved directorships on their own merits.

Singapore has always prided itself on being a meritocracy. Affirmative action goes against this fundamental Singaporean value.

Aloysius Liu Cheng Han


This article was first published on Sep 11, 2014.
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