More than one-third of ASX 200 boards fall short on women representation

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When it comes to seeing women on boards of the largest companies, progress is occurring, but it’s occurring at a glacial pace.

The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) has released new data that shows that while 10 new companies have joined the ranks of leading organisations in reaching 30% women on their boards, more than a third of companies still haven’t met this conservative mark.

Overall, 113 ASX 200 companies have reached 30% women on their boards, while 87 companies lag.

But there are trends to feel hopeful about.

Shown in AICD’s latest gender diversity report, the proportion of women on ASX 200 boards has increased two percentage points in the last year and now sits at 32.1%.

And while 87 companies are indeed lagging on the 30% milestone, 76 of those boards are just one female appointment away from reaching that goal.

The ASX 300 has also seen steady progress maintained this year, with a similar increase of 2 percentage points since October 2019, to 29.6% this month.

AICD CEO and managing director Angus Armour said such progress was critical, especially at this point in history.

“Now, more than ever, the diversity of leadership roles is critical to ensure an effective post-COVID recovery,” he said.

“This continuing upward trend indicates that the message about diversity is being heard.

“I am confident that we will see the ASX 300 reach the aggregate target in the very near future.

“We are calling on all companies who have not yet made active steps towards gender-balance in their leadership to consider the full pool of board-ready candidates for their next appointment.”

Progress made on ASX boards

Group Female directorship (at 30 October 2020)
ASX 20 36.2%
ASX 50 33.9%
ASX 100 33.5%
ASX 200 32.1%
ASX 300 29.6%
ASX All Ords 26.0%

Nicola Wakefield Evans, the chair of 30% Club Australia, said: “It is encouraging to see that the ASX 300 is very close to reaching 30 per cent women on boards.”

“We will continue to target those companies on the ASX who fail to recognise not only the obvious benefits of board diversity, but the risks to reputation and performance for those who lag behind.”

There were now just two companies on ASX 200 with no women on their boards: Silver Lake Resources Limited and Perseus Mining Limited.

This article was first published by Women’s Agenda.

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