30% women on boards target now in sight

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

New research shows that a target to achieve 30% female representation on ASX 200 boards will be met by 2018, but only if current appointment rates are maintained.

Research commissioned by the Australian Institute of Company Directors, conducted by Mercer, analysed ASX 200 Board appointments and found that based on the 12 months to June 2016, the 30% target would be met by the end of 2018.

The result marks the first time that the ambitious target of 30% female representation on boards has appeared achievable since it was first set by the AICD in early 2015. AICD Managing Director & CEO, John Brogden, said that while the focus on the issue of gender diversity was finally yielding results, the 30% target would only be reached if the current positive momentum was sustained.

“This is an extremely encouraging result which shows that real progress is being made on the appointment of women to ASX 200 boards. But the target will only be achieved if the monthly new appointment rate of 38% or above continues,” Mr Brogden said.

“At the end of August, there were still 22 ASX 200 boards with no women.”

The AICD Quarterly Gender Diversity Report, released with the Mercer research, also found that the percentage of women on ASX 200 companies had risen to 23.8% from a low of 8.3% in 2009.

Further, 53 companies had already reached the 30% target, up from 38 companies this time last year.

“The 30% target is important because research shows this is the level at which the number of women on a board becomes a critical mass. Put simply, it’s the point where a group has a voice at the table, not just a seat,” said Mr Brogden.

“While these results are positive, the challenge is to maintain momentum. The AICD will continue our focus on gender diversity in consultation with our members and ASX 200 company chairs.”

Key Findings of the Mercer Getting to 30% Report:

  • Monthly new female appointment rates to ASX 200 boards have risen from 9% in 2009, to 42.8% in the year to June 2016.
  • Monthly new female appointment rates (as calculated by the AICD) need to be 38% or above to meet the 30% target by the end of 2018.
  • Based on the current rates of female appointments and exit rates, gender parity on ASX 200 Boards is achievable by 2022.
  • Among ASX 200 companies, the Household & Personal Products (40%), Insurance (34.8%), and Utilities (33%) sectors have all already exceeded the 30% target.

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