There are 81 companies on the ASX 300 with boards that have no female directors (see the full list below), according to Women On Boards 2015 Board Diversity Index. Every one of these companies can not possibly claim women are not important to their bottom lines.
Dominoes Pizza, for one, has no women on its board. It sells and delivers pizza to households across Australia. How women can not be considered absolutely essential to its strategic direction is a question its shareholders should be asking.
Dominoes Pizza is one of five companies in the ASX 100 with no women on its board, the remaining four include Ramsay Healthcare, TPG Telecom, Qube Holdings and Sirtex. The list of boards excluding half the population grows significantly as the group of Australia’s largest listed companies expands.
Meanwhile government boards, including at the state and federal level, continue to significantly favour male directors — some even continue to have zero female directors at all (including two in WA, three in Queensland and one in Tasmania). This is despite the strategic directions these boards are being asked to set ultimately affecting women as much as, if not more, than they are affecting men.
Are these boards missing out on some kind of special magic that can only be offered by women?
No, what they are missing is diversity.
According to Anne Richards, the global chief Investment officer of Aberdeen Asset management, a $600b+ fund that sees board diversity as a measure of potential success, the push for more women on boards is not about companies acknowledging it’s the ‘right thing to do’.
Instead, it’s about acknowledging that gender diverse boards operate much better than boards that are all male or female dominated.
This is a matter of cognitive diversity, she says. The fact that a more gender equitable split on a board is a key step to achieving a more diverse range of experiences, skillsets and thought.
“Women do not have magical superpowers that differentiates them from men, from my point of view. Mixed teams outperform non mixed teams,” she said, during the launch of Women on Boards’ 2015 Board Diversity Index on Monday.
“What’s become so much more obvious over the last five years is that first of all the economic argument is increasingly compelling. We’re seeing this come up continually in the data. There is significant economic power in the female half of the economy.”
She added that the businesses her firm invests in are those that can demonstrate the group of individuals charged with determining it’s strategic direction is the best combination possible. And if the board is lacking diversity, it needs to demonstrate a comprehensive succession plan for how it plans to plug the gaps in the future.
Aberdeen considers board diversity vital to its investment decisions. It knows good business relies on good decision-making, something that is only as good as the mix-up of individual making such decisions.
On that note, below are the boards not missing the ‘magical’ input of women, but rather the smart and necessary need to acknowledge the female half of the population is vital.
The 81 ASX 300 listed boards missing female directors include (along with their listed number):
360 Capital Industrial Fund, 240
Acrux Limited, 277
Ainsworth Game Technology Limited, 165
Altium Limited, 200
Amcom Telecommunications Limited, 169
Arb Corporation Limited, 157
Arena Reit Stapled, 229
Ausdrill Limited, 280
Austal Limited, 195
Australian Agricultural Company Ltd, 166
Australian Industrial Reit, 260
Aveo Group Stapled, 136
BC Iron Limited, 286
Beadell Resources Limited, 268
Cabcharge Australia Limited, 188
Capitol Health Limited, 203
Cash Converters International, 220
Cedar Woods Properties Limited, 219
Charter Hall Retail Reit Unit, 121
Cudeco Limited, 235
Decmil Group Limited, 263
Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Limited, 83
Donaco International Limited, 205
Energy World Corporation LTD, 189
Erm Power Limited, 207
Evolution Mining Limited, 197
Folkestone Education Trust Unit, 202
GUD Holdings Ltd, 198
GWA Group Limited, 168
Horizon Oil Limited, 270
Hotel Property Investments, 222
Independence Group NL, 140
IProperty Group Ltd, 210
Karoon Gas Australia Limited, 191
M2 Group LTD, 113
Maca Limited, 259
Maxitrans Industries Limited, 281
Mayne Pharma Group Limited, 172
Mcmillan Shakespeare Limited, 153
Medusa Mining Limited, 271
Mesoblast Limited, 141
Metals X Limited, 213
Mineral Deposits Limited, 289
Mineral Resources Limited, 137
Monadelphous Group Limited, 167
Mount Gibson Iron Limited, 258
Newsat Limited, 288
Nextdc Limited, 216
Nine Entertainment Co. Holdings Ltd, 111
Northern Star Resources LTD, 135
NRW Holdings Limited, 294
Oceanagold Corporation, 183
Orocobre Limited, 231
Paladin Energy LTD, 186
Perseus Mining Limited, 278
Prana Biotechnology Limited, 287
Prime Media Group Limited, 243
Qube Holdings Limited, 84
Ramsay Health Care Limited, 22
RCG Corporation Limited, 267
Reckon Limited, 266
Regis Resources Limited, 185
Resolute Mining Limited, 273
Sandfire Resources NL, 182
Select Harvests Limited, 199
Seven Group Holdings Limited, 102
Silex Systems Limited, 282
Silver Lake Resources Limited, 285
Sino Gas & Energy Holdings Limited, 248
Sirtex Medical Limited, 99
Sundance Energy Australia Limited, 250
Sundance Resources Limited, 292
Syrah Resources Limited, 175
Tassal Group Limited, 208
Technology One Limited, 145
Tiger Resources Limited, 290
TPG Telecom Limited, 45
Troy Resources Limited, 283
Vocus Communications Limited, 184
Webjet Limited, 247
Western Areas Limited, 162