BIG BUSINESS LEADS THE WAY IN BOARD GENDER DIVERSITY

Written on the 15 December 2016

BIG BUSINESS LEADS THE WAY IN BOARD GENDER DIVERSITY THE top 20 ASX companies are paving the way for gender balance on corporate boards with the latest report from the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) finding that women now make up 30 per cent of ASX top 20 board positions.

Among the broader ASX 200, women now account for 25 per cent of board positions, substantially up from 2009 where female representation at the board level was at just 8.3 per cent.

Although these are positive signs, the AICD also found that of the 23 companies that went to IPO during quarter one of FY16, female representation at the board level was at just seven per cent.

The AICD has set a target for the industry to achieve 30 per cent female representation on ASX 200 boards by the end of 2018.

The AICD's Chairperson, Elizabeth Proust believes that whilst the latest report does show some positive signs, there is still a fair way to go to achieve gender balance across all Australian corporate boards.

"There is undeniable and mounting evidence that gender diversity on boards brings significant benefits," Proust says.

"In total, 64 ASX 200 companies have reached our 30 per cent target. This is up from just 38 companies this time last year.

"While these results are positive, it is essential to remember that we will only reach the 30 per cent target for the ASX 200 if appointment rates for women remain at 40 per cent or above."

Proust says that companies further down the ASX need to also "understand the value that diversity can bring to their own boards."

"That message is clearly not being heard by companies that made IPOs in the first quarter, considering males made up an astonishing 93 per cent of those boards."

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