Push for More Women on Business Boards
13 April 2015 at 11:21 am
The Australian Institute of Company Directors is calling for all business boards to ensure that at least 30 per cent of their directors are female.
The AICD also urged all ASX200 companies companies to meet the new target by the end of 2018.
Launching the new target, AICD Managing Director and CEO, John Brogden, said the objective was aimed at helping companies more quickly reach the critical mass required to produce the optimal business benefits of board diversity.
“There is an undeniable case for gender diversity on boards. It is not only the right thing to do but the smart thing to do, because it means better business performance,” Brogden said.
“Numerous pieces of research demonstrate a positive link between the level of female representation on boards and improved corporate performance.”
Morgan said the 30 per cent target would apply to all company structures, as the AICD has a membership of over 35,000 that extends beyond the top listed companies to small ASX entities, private business and not-for-profit organisations.
“However, we recognise that the four-year time frame to achieve the target for ASX200 boards may not be appropriate for smaller listed and non-listed companies so we have not set a specific target date for these organisations to meet it,” he said.
“Our previous initiatives to increase diversity have contributed to a steady increase in female directors on ASX200 boards, from 8.3 per cent in 2009 to 20 per cent today. We believe more needs to be done to further increase that number, and we are confident our new policy will help achieve that, at a faster pace.
“We believe that the director community setting its own 30 per cent target is a better approach than a mandated quota imposed by government. We have always said that companies should set their own measurable targets for gender diversity and to facilitate their efforts we are now nominating a standard that we consider appropriate.”
Morgan said the AICD would urge all boards to adopt the target and regularly report on their progress towards it so that the results of the initiative could be transparent and monitored by stakeholders.
The AICD launched its original Board Diversity Initiative in 2009, when it called on companies to establish a diversity policy in which clear goals and measurable milestones towards achieving these goals were articulated.
It has since introduced a range of activities to contribute to increasing the number of women on boards.