Women significantly under-represented on boards of listed companies in Ghana – Report [ARTICLE]

Women significantly under-represented on boards of listed companies in Ghana – Report [ARTICLE]

Among the 37 companies listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange, women hold only 23% of board seats and 24% of non-executive director seats. Although this figure represents a 3% increase in board seats held by women and a 4% increase in non-executive director seats held by women from 2019, the Board Diversity Index shows that women are rarely included in the governance and management of some of Ghana’s most notable companies.

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The 2020 Board Diversity Index reveals that the most common role held by women across most companies is the position of corporate secretary. While 72% of all corporate secretaries among GSE-listed companies are women, this position is not a director role. By virtue of their work and presence at board meetings, corporate secretaries can exert influence in the boardroom and can be great director candidates yet seldom hold a seat at the table.

Key sectors assessed in the 2020 Board Diversity Index include agriculture and agribusiness, financial services, automobile, advertising and communications, education, energy, consumer goods, and food and beverage. Amongst these sectors, consumer goods leads with respect to the percentage of companies in the consumer goods sector with more than 30% female directors. However, in terms of the aggregate number of women, the financial services sector outperforms all sectors: 38% of all female directors in GSE- listed companies represented in the financial services sector.

Highlights from the report:

  • Women hold 23% of the board seats and 24% of non-executive director seats of GSE-listed companies— an increase of 3% and 4% respectively from 2019.
  • 27% of GSE-listed companies ranked as “top performers” with respect to gender diversity with 30% or more of their board seats held by women.
  • 49% of companies have only one or no women on their boards.
  • Only 5 out of the 13 sectors have companies with more than 30% representation.
  • 100% of all consumer goods companies have more than 30% female directors. However, in terms of aggregate value, the financial services sector has the highest number of female board directors. 38% of all female directors are in the financial services sector.
  • The higher the number of female non-executive directors, the higher the likelihood of females in executive positions. Companies with 30% or more female non-executive directors are 6% more likely to have a female chairperson, 8% more likely to have a female CEO/MD, and 15% more likely to have a female COO
  • Businesses with female board chairs are more likely to have more female board directors compared with businesses with male board c

Commenting on the methodology, Marcia Ashong, Founder and CEO of TheBoardroom Africa said, “TheBoardroom Africa has undertaken a robust analysis of boardroom gender diversity in Ghana and 11 other African states over the past three years by analyzing board composition through public declarations of executives and officers. This year, we’re delighted to count the Ghana Stock Exchange as a partner that has a clear understanding of the strong link between gender diversity and good corporate governance.”

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Over the last decade, Ghanaian women have made significant strides in access to rights, education, and the labor market. Today, nearly 70 percent of Ghanaian women participate in the economy—a rate higher than many developed countries—yet those gains have failed to translate to equitable representation in the boardroom and executive leadership.

Commenting on the significance of the 2020 Board Diversity Index, Abena Amoah, Deputy Managing Director of the Ghana Stock Exchange, said, “Good corporate governance helps firms improve performance, drive growth and manage risk. To be truly effective, a board requires a diversity of skills and perspectives. The Board Diversity Index shows that many GSE-listed companies are true gender diversity champions, but that there is still much work to be done.”

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