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Women Look to Business to Unlock the Boardroom Door

8 March 2011

  • 51% surveyed look to business rather than schools or government to close the gender gap
  • 60% believe men and women will share childcare equally by 2060
  • 63% believe flexible working is the future

Leading business women from the UK, New York and Hong Kong agree that it is the job of the business community to do more to attract women to top jobs, a survey for HSBC bank has shown.

While professional women believe that the education sector has a huge role to play (especially in encouraging young women to study science and technology), it is workplace practice that will make the difference and close the gender gap at the top of organisations.

Family was rated the third most important driver of corporate success for women in New York and London followed by the role of government and the media. In Hong Kong, however, the picture is slightly different, with government ranked third, the need for media to do more to encourage women fourth, and family last.

Released on the 100th International Women's Day, the survey was conducted to give an insight into how successful business women think the next generation can reach the boardroom.

While organisations – from companies to governments – are key, those surveyed also felt that more women need to put themselves forward as role models. This was thought especially vital in the science and technology-led industries, where female role models have traditionally been scarce.

HSBC surveyed delegates who will be attending the bank's tri-continent International Women's Day conferences on March 8 at concurrent events in London, New York and Hong Kong.

At the conferences, leading business women will be joined by commentators including Lynne Franks, author and founder of SEED Women's Network, and Juliet Davenport, founder and CEO of Good Energy Group plc to discuss how today's girls can be helped to lead business in the future. Debate will range from statutory measures, to addressing corporate support and culture and balancing and changing the demands of family life.

The women surveyed were clear that this is about more than achieving equality in the workplace. Some 56%, for example, believe women champion better integration between business and their local communities,

Bronwyn Curtis, Chairman of Global Research, HSBC said: "Our survey highlights the crucial role the business community has to play in encouraging more women to enter into business. We are delighted to take the opportunity of International Women's Day to discuss this important issue with clients and key stakeholders across the globe."

"We are pleased to have been able to hold a tri-continental event to discuss the future state of women in business. Although women have made great strides, work needs to continue to support and develop a diverse workforce that will benefit our societies, our clients and our businesses," Irene Dorner, President and Chief Executive Office, HSBC USA Inc and HSBC Bank USA, N.A.

About the survey

Over 250 delegates who will attend the HSBC 100th International Women's Day seminars were approached in February 2011 to answer questions on a range of issues around the future for women in the business community.

HSBC Bank plc

HSBC serves 15.6 million customers in the UK and employs approximately 58,000 people. In the UK, HSBC offers a complete range of personal, premier and private banking services, commercial banking for small to media businesses and corporate and institutional banking services. HSBC Bank plc is a wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc.

About HSBC Bank USA, N.A.

HSBC Bank USA, National Association operates more than 470 bank branches throughout the United States. There are over 375 in New York state as well as branches in Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, California, Delaware, Illinois, Oregon and Washington State. HSBC Bank USA, N.A. is the principal subsidiary of HSBC USA Inc., an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of HSBC North America Holdings Inc., one of the nation's largest bank holding companies by assets. HSBC Bank USA, N.A. is a member of the FDIC.

HSBC Bank USA, N.A., with total assets of $190 billion as of 30 September 2010, serves its 3.9 million customers through its personal financial services, commercial banking, private banking, asset management, and global banking and markets segments

HSBC Holdings plc

HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of the HSBC Group, is headquartered in London. The Group serves customers worldwide from around 8,000 offices in 88 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa. With assets of US$2,364 billion at 31 December 2009, HSBC is one of the world's largest banking and financial services organisations. HSBC is marketed worldwide as 'the world's local bank'.

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