GETTING more women into leadership roles in the corporate world involves workplace "sisters" doing as men do and mentoring their female juniors.

They should also form "sisterhood networks" within their companies to provide a support system for female colleagues.

These were some of the suggestions of Banyan Tree senior vice-president Claire Chiang and DBS Bank board member Euleen Goh during a panel discussion at a recent seminar on women in business.

They shared the panel with MsOranuch Apisaksirikul, chief executive of Thailand's Tisco Financial Group, and Mr Georges Desvaux, a managing partner at McKinsey & Co.

Ms Chiang noted that men are very good at mentoring their proteges and helping them into leadership positions.

"Men do not just mentor their proteges. They actually help them along the process and place them in jobs, which I feel is what we need for women leaders," she said.

Women do not do this enough because they do not have a solid network, she added.

"We do not have those hours at the golf courses or at bars to share information about job vacancies or possibilities so, in a way, we are out of that whole information loop."

Ms Goh said it is important for women who are already in leadership positions to provide a solid support system for their juniors and let them know that they can tap their seniors' experience and knowledge.

"It is about being able to pick up the phone and say, 'I had a bad day at work and I really need to talk to someone I can trust'," she said.

"You can be the mentor who is a listening ear and just be there as someone who can be trusted," she added.

The problem now, though, is that there are not enough women in leadership roles to mentor the many women in middle management or more junior positions, noted Mr Desvaux.

Men will thus have to take responsibility for nurturing their female juniors, he said.

"It is about saying, 'Why don't you take on that job?' "

Women have to be challenged in this way because they tend to underestimate their capabilities and shy away from pursuing more senior jobs, he said.

Men, on the other hand, tend to act in the opposite manner and have to be told to be patient and not reach for positions beyond their skills.

Women also have to help themselves, Ms Goh added, by not being afraid to pursue such jobs.

For example, she said, she once worked at an organisation which asked all its management trainees whether they would be prepared to be posted overseas.

"Women generally would think about it and go, 'Hmm, I think I'll tick no'," she said.

"But when the time comes and the question is raised, quite often the woman will say yes."

Men, on the other hand, tended to answer the question with a "yes" without too much deliberation, she said.

"Both men and women are responsible for breaking down stereotypes and it's important for both men and women to inspire our neighbours next to each of us to be the best they can be."