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Senior Female Talent Key To Driving Innovation, Growth And Advancement Of Women In The Workforce

22 February 2016

Kuala Lumpur, 22 February 2016 – Women leaders, especially those with influence at the board level, are essential in affecting behaviour, policy and cultural changes that support the participation and development of women in the workforce. This was the message at the graduation ceremony of ICAEW and TalentCorp’s Women in Leadership Malaysia (WIL MY) 2016 programme. 

Malaysia has made significant progress on women in the workforce, with the female labour participation rate increasing from 46% in 2009 to 53.6% in 2014, translating to an additional 600,000 women joining the workforce. However, less progress has been achieved towards the Government’s policy target of 30% women representation in decision-making positions by 2016. As at 31 December 2015, women accounted for only 14% of board directors among the top 100 listed companies on Bursa Malaysia. 

As Malaysia works towards increasing female participation in the labour market to 57% by 2020, female leaders can play a unique role in lending their influence, insight and understanding towards building future female talent pipelines. 

The Women in Leadership programme 2016 addressed three key elements that senior female professionals need to tackle in order to be effective change-makers. These are possessing a clear leadership identity; exhibiting behaviours that support a personal leadership style; and understanding how to navigate complex career challenges. Enabling female leaders to develop these critical skills will ensure that they are better equipped to engage and inspire workforce diversity from the boardroom of their organisations.  

Sharron Gunn, ICAEW Executive Director, said, “ICAEW understands the critical role women in leadership positions play in driving better business performance and building stronger corporate governance. The Women in Leadership Malaysia programme provides the support and training that helps female leaders take ownership of greater responsibility and make a difference within their organisations.” 

“In line with the Government’s policy to increase the representation of women in leadership, ICAEW’s WIL My programme prepares top female talent to take on positions at the senior management level, if not the board level. The women professionals completing the programme benefitted from ICAEW’s tried and tested content from the UK in addition to mentoring by successful Malaysian women corporate leaders,” said Johan Mahmood Merican, Chief Executive Officer, TalentCorp. 

Working in partnership with Talent Corporation Malaysia Berhad (TalentCorp), ICAEW’s Women in Leadership Malaysia (WIL MY) is a six-month long programme that focuses on supporting the careers of senior women from all industry sectors who are aiming for senior leadership or board roles within Government, private sector and business. The programme equips Malaysian women professionals with strategies and skills to navigate, build and lead in a dynamic and ever-changing 21st century work environment. Comprising workshops, experiential sharing sessions, one-to-one mentoring and networking opportunities, participants receive practical, personal and confidential guidance and support from experienced mentors who are themselves, captains of industry. 

Some notable mentors in the programme include successful Malaysian corporate leaders such as Weina Ang, Partner/Global Employer Services National Practice Leader, Deloitte Malaysia, Datin Maznah Mahbob, CEO of AmInvest, Shareen Ooi, Group Chief Marketing Officer of Media Prima Berhad, Raja Teh Maimunah, Managing Director and CEO of Hong Leong Islamic Bank as well as Janet Yap, Country Managing Director of Accenture.

For more information about Women in Leadership Malaysia (WIL MY), please go to