ASX 100 reaches 30% target but female board appointments slow in May

Women now account for 27.7% of ASX200 board positions, up from 25.4% this time last year, according to new figures released today by the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

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

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

AICD Chairman Elizabeth Proust AO said while the quarterly results showed positive progress towards the target of achieving 30% female representation across ASX200 boards by the end of 2018, the figures for May were 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 AM and Australian Shareholders’ Association CEO Judith Fox.

Mr McCann AM said 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 said.

“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.

“However a laissez-faire approach will not overcome the obstacles which prevent talented women from obtaining leadership roles. Only after 10 years of effort from the AICD, Chief Executive Women, the Male Champions of Change and the 30% Club, is Australia achieving significant female representation on ASX 200 boards.

“Engaging influential men to step up beside women to take action continues to present an untapped opportunity to achieving change.”

ASA CEO Judith Fox said the research was clear that greater gender diversity on boards delivered better outcomes for shareholders.

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

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

There remain 5 boards on the ASX 200 with no women, down from 13 this time last year.

ASX 200 Boards with no female directors (as at 31 May 2018):

  • ARB Corporation Ltd
  • Ardent Leisure Group
  • Ausdrill Ltd
  • Tassal Group Ltd
  • TPG Telecom Ltd

To read the full report, please click here.

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