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Australia meets ASX200 boardroom diversity targets - WITHOUT quotas

Women accounted for 29.7 per cent of all ASX200 board positions as of 31 December 2018, meeting targets set three years ago to have 30 per cent gender diversity on the boards of Australia’s top 200 companies. (Photo: Getty)

Australia is streets ahead in terms of boardroom gender diversity versus the rest of the world.

As of the end of 2018, women make up 29.7 per cent of all ASX200 board positions, making us the first country to do so without regulatory intervention or quotas, according to the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD).

Nearly half (96) of ASX200 companies have now met the target of at least 30 per cent women representation on their boards. In 2015, only 40 ASX200 companies could say the same.

The AICD has been campaigning for 30 per cent gender diversity on ASX200 boards since 2015. It’s also been a key supporter of a global campaign called the 30% Club, first founded in the UK in 2010 with the aim to increase gender diversity on company boards, that has since spread to a number of countries across the world including Australia.

But there’s further to go, AICD managing director and CEO Angus Amour said.

“Of course, 30 per cent remains the floor and not the ceiling for gender diversity on boards.

“We intend to continue advocating for gender parity on Australian boards.”

Top 5 ASX200 companies for women representation on boards

(Source: The Australian Institute of Company Directors)

Bapcor was the company with the highest proportion of female directors, with women filling three of its five board positions, followed by Metcash, NIB Holdings,, Fortescue Metals and Medibank which all had more than 55 per cent female board members.

Additionally, Commonwealth Bank, Woolworths, Mirvac, Spark, Seek, Altium, Abacus Property, IOOF, Navistas and Inghams each have 50 per cent female representation.

But the majority of firms in the ASX200 still had a majority of men on their boards. Only 15 companies have either an equal split on gender lines or more women than men.

ASX200 companies with no women on boards

(Source: The Australian Institute of Company Directors)

AMP was one of four ASX200 companies with no women on its board, having appointed men to fill the spots vacated by chair Catherine Brenner and non-executive directors Vanessa Wallace, Holly Kramer and Patty Akopiantz following its royal commission drubbing.

TPG, has long been criticised by shareholder groups for its lack of board renewal, as has parts manufacturer ARB and earthmoving rental firm Emeco.

“In 2018, 45 per cent of all appointments to ASX200 boards were women, which demonstrates that voluntary targets can be effective,” Mr Armour said.

“Even more satisfying is that for almost half of these women it was their first ASX200 appointment, which is proof that boards are looking beyond the existing talent pool.”

“29.7 per cent is not 30 per cent”

Wesfarmers and AGL Energy director Diane Smith-Gander told the Sydney Morning Herald that 29.7 per cent was not good enough.

“29.7 per cent is not 30 per cent,” she said.

“It might seem to be quibbling over a whisker, but 30 per cent is merely a way point on the way to proper gender equity, which would be 50 per cent.”

The 30% Club and the AICD are already making moves to create a new target of 40 per cent.

“30 per cent is the baseline, and that’s a baseline we intend to move forward from,” Armour told the SMH.

—with AAP

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