ASX200 boards are getting closer to hitting the 30% female representation target

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images.
  • The target of having 30% female representation across ASX200 boards by the end of 2018 is closer.
  • Women now account for 27.7% of ASX200 board directors, up from 25.4% this time last year.
  • However, there are still five boards on the ASX 200 with no women, down from 13 a year ago.

Women now make up 27.7% of ASX200 board directors, up from 25.4% a year ago, according to figures released today by the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD).

The numbers also reveal that for the first time women account for 30% of board positions on ASX100 companies.

The year to date female appointment rate for ASX200 boards is 49%, dropping below 50% for the first time since January as a result of fewer women being appointed in May.

AICD Chairman Elizabeth Proust says the quarterly results show positive progress toward the target of achieving 30% female representation across ASX200 boards by the end of 2018 but the figures for May are cause for concern.

“The AICD set our 30% target in 2015 because of the strong body of evidence showing that diverse boards lead to better outcomes for shareholders and stakeholders alike,” she said.

“The obstacle to achieving this target has long been one of demand, not of supply. Australia is not lacking for talented and experienced women, and the breadth and depth of experience of female appointees in 2018 is evidence of that.

“However, even with the current year-to-date female appointment rate of 49%, achieving the 30% target by the end of this year will be tough.”

The AICD’s Quarterly Gender Diversity Report also includes insights from Non-Executive Director and Founding Male Champions of Change member Kevin McCann and Australian Shareholders’ Association (ASA) CEO Judith Fox.

McCann says his personal experience across a variety of sectors supported research showing the benefits of achieving a critical mass of female directors.

“The arrival of a critical mass of women directors to boards raises the quality of board deliberations as a result of the collective intelligence from different perspectives,” he says.

“Nor have I experienced a talent supply issue with female candidates; rather, that there is a pipeline of talented women available for boards with a broad range of skills.”

ASA CEO Judith Fox says greater gender diversity on boards delivers better outcomes for shareholders.

“It simply doesn’t make sense not to utilise the full quotient of talent available in the population,” she says.

“Boards need to be capable of challenging assumptions and offering different viewpoints, and having diverse voices around the table encourages this.”

There are five boards on the ASX 200 with no women, down from 13 this time last year.

ASX 200 Boards with no female directors (as at the end of May): ARB Corporation Ltd, Tassal Group Ltd, Ardent Leisure Group, TPG Telecom Ltd, Ausdrill Ltd.

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