GAIL KELLY – DON’T MANDATE GENDER EQUALITY ON BOARDS
15 September 2011,
WESTPAC CEO Gail Kelly (pictured) is against mandating minimum numbers of women for company boards and believes that diversity and gender equality should be a ‘specific and targeted area of focus’ for organisations
Kelly made the comments at a QUT business leaders’ forum, saying that while she was a passionate advocate of driving diversity at work, it doesn’t necessarily translate to mandating.
“I think mandated positions can have unforeseen consequences and unintended and poor outcomes,” she says.
She cited the ASX’s ‘name and shame’ approach as ideal.
“A conscious focus, name and shame approach where boards are held to account to have to explain their performance and their track record, not only at board level, but actually at senior levels is the right way to go,” she says.
“The issue shouldn’t start and stop at boards though – change should occur throughout organisations.”
Thirty-six per cent of leadership positions at Westpac are currently held by women and Kelly says she won’t stop growing this number until it reaches 50 per cent.
“To create this change, recruitment models, discussion forums, training programs, measures and rewards need to be focused around gender equality,” she says.