women on boards

Female board progress slow and elusive

Progress improves for women on boards but a key 30% target in 2018 remains elusive.

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Female board participation is getting better but overall improvement just isn’t happening fast enough and it’s getting irritating.

Of the top 200 listed companies there are eleven that don’t have any women on boards.

On top of that, a key target to have 30 per cent women on all the top 200 boards by the end of 2018 is looking doubtful unless more pressure is applied to lagging companies too boost their female representation.

“Considering the business case for diversity, the fact that there are still 11 ASX 200 boards with no women on their boards is astounding,” Australian Institute of Company Directors Chairman Elizabeth Proust AO.

The ASX 200 companies with no women on their board as at 31 August 2017, are:

  • CIMIC Group Limited
  • Mineral Resources Ltd
  • TPG Telecom
  • Reliance Worldwide Corporation Ltd
  • Qube Holdings Ltd
  • ARB Corporation Ltd
  • Evolution Mining Ltd
  • Australian Agricultural Company Ltd
  • Flight Centre Travel Group
  • Speedcast International Ltd

These companies are in various sectors, from the male dominated mining industry for Evolution Mining to the female heavy consumer staples space for Flight Centre.

The good news however is that number has halved, down from 22 boards without any women on them this time last year.

According to a new report by the AICD the percentage of female directors across the ASX 200 has risen dramatically since 2009 when it stood at just 8.3 per cent.

But the AICD’s Quarterly Gender diversity report shows that at the end of August there were 25.4 per cent female directors across the ASX 200 – only marginally above the 25.3 per cent achieved by the end of 2016.

AICD Chairman Elizabeth Proust AO said that the halt in progress was concerning.

“Hopefully this report serves as wake-up call to directors, investors and shareholders across the ASX 200,” she said.

“There’s no doubt that this AGM season we need action to achieve greater gender diversity on the boards of Australia’s largest companies.

“The research is clear. Gender diversity on boards is not just common sense, it is also good business sense.

“There are 64 boards that have only one female director. This includes 10 companies where the lone female director has been there for more than three years and multiple men have been appointed to the board since her appointment.

“One female director does not equal gender diversity. The research shows that critical mass, that is 30 per cent, needs to be achieved in order to see the full benefits of diversity realised.

“The AICD will be watching this AGM season with great interest to see what percentage of board appointments are women,” she said.

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