Tipping point for board gender diversity

Women now make up 22 per cent of ASX200 boards and only 22 of Australia's largest listed companies have failed to appoint a female director, according to a superannuation council.

The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) found companies in the ASX200 with no women on boards were becoming an anomaly.

ACSI chief executive, Louise Davidson, said "for the first time, the number of ASX200 companies where women make up at least 30 per cent of their directors exceeds those boards with no women at all".

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"This is a tipping point in board gender diversity, and it follows the first anniversary of ACSI's renewed push on the issue, when we called for 30 per cent women on all Australian boards by 2017," she said.

ACSI also found as at 7 March:

  • Women have represented slightly more than 50 per cent of all appointments announced for ASX200 companies so far in 2016 (19 out of 37).
  • Large companies are still leading the way, with boards of ASX50 companies at 27 per cent
  • Only two companies in the ASX100 still have zero women on their boards.
  • Smaller companies are much slower to adjust, with the ASX201-300 representing only 16 per cent women.

"The rise illustrates the fact that ,despite the tired old excuses, there's no shortage of appropriately skilled experienced and talented women for directorships," Davidson said.

"What's also increasingly clear is that those companies without any women directors are not just out of touch with community expectations, they're out of step with their business peers.

"Now that boards are getting the message, hopefully we will see a flow through impact to executive teams accessing the best possible talents by recruiting and promoting people form more diverse backgrounds."

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