The image of an all-male board of directors governing GCC firms has been somewhat realigned, after a study revealed that listed firms in Kuwait and Oman have more women board members than counterparts in Italy and Japan.
Women were found to make up 2.7 per cent of boards in Kuwait, compared with Italy, where they represent two per cent and Japan, where the number falls to 0.4 per cent. In Oman, out of a total of 905 board seats, 21 (or 2.3 per cent) are occupied by women.
Dubai outpaces Japan, with 1.2 per cent female representation, according to the Power Matters report put together by Abu Dhabi bank The National Investor and Hawkamah, corporate governance watchdog.
On average, the GCC has 1.5 per cent women as board members at listed companies. The figures are dwarfed though by boardrooms elsewhere around the world, where in the UK 10 per cent of members are women, in the US there is 13.6 per cent representation, and, Norway, which has the highest concentration, the figure rises to 22 per cent female boardroom population.
"The small representation of women on regional boards is unsurprising and looks minuscule compared to America and Norway," the report said.
It pointed towards social and religious similarities between GCC public companies and their low-ranking European and Asian counterparts as explanation of the findings.
2.7% of boards in Kuwait are made up of women directors