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Wednesday, 7 July 2021

More women, please

EGX companies face new diversity targets: New listing rules announced by the Financial Regulatory Authority yesterday designed to promote female representation in boardrooms could shake up the traditionally male-dominated hierarchies of Egyptian corporates. Under the changes, the boards of EGX-listed firms and non-banking financial services companies will be required to be at least 25% women.

The regulator tried something similar last year: The FRA gave the 48% of EGX companies that still had all-male boards until the end of 2020 to appoint just one female director. This didn’t quite go to plan though, with EGX boss Mohamed Farid admitting that by the end of 2020, the percentage of companies with female representation had risen to just 65%.

Things seem to have improved since: Almost 85% of EGX companies now have at least one woman on their boards, according to figures given by FRA head Mohamed Omran yesterday. Two hundred of the 237 companies listed on the exchange are now in compliance, he said, adding that 581 NBFS institutions now have female representation.

Compare this to 2019, when more than half of listed companies didn’t have a single woman on their boards.

Then there’s this: Figures from the 2020 Women on Boards Observatory report (pdf) report show that women accounted for 11.2% of all directors in listed companies last year, which while low, is an improvement on the 10.1% a year earlier. And companies regulated by the FRA increase female representation to 14.7% from 11.2% during 2020. The only industry to see a regression was banking, which fell to 13.7% from 14.7%.

The FRA has tried to promote workplace diversity below the board level too: At the end of last year, it announced that it would slash development and service fees for companies whose staff were at least 25% women.

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