Why Women Are Needed On The Boards Of Rugby League Teams As Much As ASX Companies

Rabbitohs celebrate victory during the 2014 NRL Grand Final. Photo Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Cathy Harris, NRL commissioner and chair of the privately-owned food retailer Harris Farm, believes a company is missing out if it doesn’t have a woman on the board of directors.

“If you look at an organisation that doesn’t have a woman on the board you have to ask yourself are they selecting on merit,” she told a meeting of company directors today.

And sporting organisation such as rugby league would be missing half the potential audience.

“It’s never going to be a good business decision to have a male-dominated organisation because you are not getting the breadth of the potential fans, volunteers, people watching it,” she says. “No longer do you see women standing back and letting dad go to the footy and leave mother home with the two kids.”

Harris was speaking to members of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) in Sydney today.

AICD collected statistics show women now comprise 18.2% of boards on ASX 200 companies, the highest figure ever, but there are still 41 companies without a female director.

The ASX Corporate Governance Council, in its latest updated principles and recommendations, says companies should be report their Gender Equality Indicators. And when a company reports the proportions of women and men in senior executive positions, the company should disclose how they define what they mean by a senior executive.

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