In disappointing news, Australia is sliding backwards in women's representation on ASX200 boards

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – AUGUST 06: Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry speaks during the 2015 BCF Women In Business & Sport Leaders Lunch at Doltone House, Jones Bay Wharf on August 6, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Australia is sliding backwards in women’s representation on the boards of all ASX200 companies with the new appointment rate at only 23 per cent.

Women accounted for 29.7 per cent of ASX200 board positions at the end of last year, with four companies in the ASX200 having no females on the board and 50 companies having only one woman, according to the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD).

That’s despite women representing about one in two people. ABS population data shows in 2016 there were 100 females for every 98 males.

AICD Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Angus Armour said in a statement the results are disappointing.

“At the beginning of this year we expected to achieve our 30 per cent target imminently, but unfortunately the overall percentage has fallen since the start of this year,” he said.

“I challenge all boards to look around their boardroom and ask if there is sufficient diversity of skills, experience and gender to effectively meet the demands of a challenging governance landscape.”

As of 31 May 2019 there are four companies on ASX200 board with no women on their boards:

  • HUB24 Limited
  • ARB Corporation Limited
  • Emeco Holdings Limited
  • TPG Telecom Limited

Despite the disappointing result, Australia is ahead of some countries.

A report published in May this year by JP Morgan found the proportion of female directors on boards in the United States has crept up from 20.4 per cent in 2017 to 22 per cent in 2018.

However, Mr Armour said many companies “think that diversity stops after the appointment of one woman”. This thinking needs to change to achieve true diversity at the most senior levels of businesses and to have a positive effect on the company.

“Diverse boards help prevent group-think, leading to better outcomes for shareholders, consumers, employees and the community,” he said.

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