More Women Being Appointed to Boards
11 February 2015 at 9:57 am
There has been a 50 per cent jump in the number of women on the Boards of Australia’s 200 largest companies, according to new research.
The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) said that by the end of 2014 women were occupying almost 300 seats in ASX 200 boardrooms (19.3 per cent of all directors), a figure that has more than doubled since 2010.
ACSI said women now represent 30 per cent of all new appointments to the Boards of ASX 200 companies. In 2009 this figure was sitting around five per cent, they said.
The news came as ACSI launched a campaign to have women comprising 30 per cent of all Board positions in ASX 200 companies within the next three years.
“ACSI’s motivation to act in this space is the strong evidence of the links between board gender diversity and financial performance,” ACSI CEO Gordon Hagart said.
We have been pleased with recent improvements on gender diversity, but these come from a very low base. Our data show that unless we see an accelerated number of women appointed to ASX 200 boards, further progress will be unacceptably slow.
“ACSI hopes that Australian boards will willingly embrace the challenge, avoiding the need for the legislated quotas adopted by many other countries where improvements in diversity seemed to be happening too slowly.”
ACSI said as of February 2015, almost half of the companies in the S&P/ASX 200 index have one, or fewer, women at board level. There are now 36 companies – including one in the ASX 50 and another three in the ASX 100 – that have no women on their boards.
“It is heartening to see that so many of Australia’s business leaders have responded in recent years to the challenge set by ACSI, and others, to diversify the intellectual, philosophical and skills inputs in their boardrooms through gender diversity,” Hagart said.
“Having one woman on your board is not, however, ‘job done’. And having no women on your board leaves ACSI, and its members, wondering about the fitness of company chairs that have not yet been able to find an appropriately skilled woman to appoint. What else might they have missed in their role?”
Hagart said in 2010 ACSI was part of a group of organisations that called for change that has subsequently resulted in doubling the presence of women in public boardrooms.
But he said women still occupy less than 20 per cent of all board seats.
“ACSI’s approach to board gender diversity is based on the belief that skilled and suitably diverse boards make for better-governed companies and, as such, higher value investments over the long-term,” he said.