For the Corporate Women Directors International (CWDI), anna fang public relations worked with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange corporate communications department and with the CWDI’s president Irene Natividad. For the market opening, a few local newspapers did advance stories – The Sun, Hong Kong Economic Journal, Sing Tao Daily, and Oriental Daily News. For Irene Natividad, Anna obtained interviews with CNBC’s Straight Talk (which has a 15 country footprint), and with the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce’s Bulletin Magazine.

In a historic first, women board directors, executives and senior government officials opened the Hong Kong Stock Exchange today to celebrate women’s business leadership in Hong Kong and to mark the HKEx’s proposal to require listed companies to include and to disclose their board diversity policy in their annual reports.

Brought together by Corporate Women Directors International (CWDI), a Washington, DC-based organization which researches and promotes women on boards globally, these women are the first to open the HKEx as a group and the first in the entire Asia-Pacific region.

“We applaud the Hong Kong Stock Exchange for taking the initiative to open women’s access to board seats through its proposed board diversity listing requirement for its member companies,” states CWDI Chair Irene Natividad, “It is a winning strategy which the Australian Stock Exchange adopted earlier, with the result that their percentage of female directors rose from 8.3% in 2010 to 15.1% in 2012,” she adds. Within the Hang Seng Index, only 9% of board seats are held by women, according to HKEx’s own research on women directors.

“While the small number of female corporate directors in Hong Kong leaves room for improvement, the women leaders with me today represent the leadership that Hong Kong women already have -- a highly educated and experienced talent pool – who have contributed and continue to contribute to this economy,” states Natividad.

Joining Ms. Natividad at the Market Open were Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited Vice President Rebecca Smith and Undersecretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Julia Leung Fung-Yee. Also participating at the event were Anna Wu, Executive Councilor of the Hong Kong SAR, and Chairman of the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority; Business leaders include Peggy Liu, Consultant, K.C. Ho & Fong; Winnie Chiu, President of Dorsett International; Cally Chan, Hewlett Packard Hong Kong Country Director; Camille Tang, President of ConvenientPower HK; Umran Beba, President of Pepsico Asia Pacific; and Angela Mackay, Managing Director of the Financial Times, among other women CEOs and senior executives.

CWDI has organized prior Market Opens with women business leaders at NASDAQ in New York, the Toronto Stock Exchange in Canada, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in South Africa, the Istanbul Stock Exchange in Turkey, the Madrid Stock Exchange, the Barcelona Stock Exchange of Spain, the Warsaw Stock Exchange, and the Sao Paolo Stock Exchange last month. In each instance, it was the first time that women participated in ringing the opening bell in these Exchanges.

Group photo of Hong Kong CEOs, senior executives and
government leaders at the HKEx at the Market Open

Connie Lau, Carrie Yau, Julia Leung, Irene Natividad, Rebecca Smith,
Anna Wu, Anna Fang and Meena Datwani at the HKEx

“Gender Balance,” HKGCC Bulletin Magazine, by Malcolm Ainsworth, December 2012