Women. Not magical, just different and essential | Women's Agenda

Women. Not magical, just different and essential

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

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