Female Bank CEOs Deepen Malaysia Expertise Pool: Islamic Finance

Two of Malaysia’s 16 Islamic lenders now have female CEOs and three of the 11-member central bank Shariah Advisory Board are women, becoming role models for Prime Minister Najib Razak’s push to raise the female labor participation rate to 55 percent by 2015, from 52.4 percent now. The push, which mirrors similar efforts in Japan and South Korea, aims to widen the pool of available talent and help Malaysia maintain its position as the world’s preeminent center for Islamic finance. Only one Shariah bank in the Middle East has a female CEO. Besides, being open to female talent has allowed Malaysia to access a wider pool of Shariah scholars, an area where there is a shortage of experts.