Hong Kong University has teamed up with executive search firm Harvey Nash to develop a certificate programme to prepare women managers in Asia for appointment to the corporate board.

The Women’s Directorship Programme, run by HKU’s executive education division, will comprise five modules, taught over two three-day sessions in April and June 2013. The programme will cover topics such as strategy, ethics and compliance, remuneration and conflict resolution.

Amy Lau, director of executive education at HKU’s faculty of business and economics, says there is no one size fits all solution to address the lack of women directors. “However this programme is aimed at helping participants develop their own set of strategies tailored to their career ambitions, situation and personality, recognising that these will evolve over time as new challenges arise and elements in their lives change.”

Promoting women to the board makes business sense, both improving performance and creating access to a wider talent pool, says Nick Marsh, managing director of Harvey Nash Asia Pacific. “Business success hinges on a gender-balanced boardroom for continued growth.”

Getting women on to the corporate board is as pressing a problem in Asia as it is in North America and Europe, with women accounting for only 9 per cent of executive committees and 8 per cent of all boards in China, according to McKinsey. In Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan and Korea the figures are even lower.

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