Women ASX board appointments off to a strong start in 2021

Monday, 22 March 2021

The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) has today revealed that the rate of women being appointed to director roles in 2021 on the ASX 200 and 300 is nearing the rate of men.

In January and February of this year women have accounted for 46.7 per cent of ASX 200 board appointments and 52.3 per cent of ASX 300 board appointments.

AICD General Manager of Advocacy, Louise Petschler, said, As we head into 2021 the appointment rate for women on boards is nearing parity. This is where we need it to stay to maintain the momentum on board gender diversity that we have seen over the past few years.”

Over the last 10 years the appointment rate of women on ASX 200 boards has climbed steadily from 28 per cent in 2011 to 42.6 per cent in 2020.

Women now occupy 32.9 per cent of ASX 200 board positions and 30.8 per cent of ASX 300 positions, as at 28 February 2021.

Group Female directorships
(as at 28 February 2021)
Female directorships
(last report, as at 30 November 2020)
Female directorships (first report, 2015)
ASX 20 35% 36.2% 24.2%
ASX 50 34.5% 33.9% 23.7%
ASX 100 34.1% 33.5% 23.8%
ASX 200 32.9% 32.1% 20.6%
ASX 300 30.8% 29.6% 18.9%
ASX All Ords 26.9% 26.0% 15.7%

30% Club Australia Chair, Nicola Wakefield Evans, said, “We know that a shortage of qualified, board-ready women has never been the problem. One of the most significant barriers to women’s progression to boards has been unconscious bias in recruitment practices and a tendency to rely on personal networks.

“At this point, we should be expecting women to be appointed at the same rate as men.”

While the appointment rate is encouraging, there are still more than a third of boards in the ASX 200 that have not yet reached the minimum standard of 30 per cent women on their boards.

Since December 2020, ten more companies in the ASX 200 have reached the 30 per cent threshold, taking the number to 123.

“Each quarter we’re seeing the number of companies reaching 30 per cent women increase. But it still means another 77 companies need to lift their focus,” said Ms Petschler.

“It’s an important time for visible leadership on gender equality in this country,” Ms Petschler said. “Women need to be participating in all decision-making forums, including corporate Australia.”

The 30 per cent threshold is important as a tipping point for gender diversity on boards, and the AICD continues to track the performance of our largest companies against this target.

“The AICD also encourages all organisations to embrace a board diversity model of ‘40:40:20’, where boards have at least 40 per cent women directors and 40 per cent men directors, as good practice,” Ms Petschler said.

There were two companies on the ASX 200 with no women on their boards as at 28 February 2021:

  • Silver Lake Resources Limited
  • Kogan.com Ltd (Kogan.Com have announced the appointment of Ms Janine Allis commencing 1 April 2021).

Download the report here.

Media Contact: Maegen Sykes 0439 167 567

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