But the not-so-good news is that the number fell just short of the 30 per cent target the Australian Institute of Company Directors hoped to achieve by December 31 2018, and women still didn’t crack the 50 per cent appointment rate during the year, with 45 per cent of board roles in 2018 going to women.
The target push hasn’t been helped by the four boards that had no women on them as of the end of 2018, including AMP (which started 2019 with eight board members, all male), ARB Corporation, Emeco and TPG Telecom — although that figure is down from 26 in 2015.
In May last year AMP declared it was seeking “meaningful change” after its three remaining female board directors resigned, following the departure of chair Catherine Brenner. AMP had started 2018 with a board that was 50 per cent female.
Still, there were other wins in 2018 to note, including that the top 100 companies reached the 30 per cent target by May 2018.
Automotive supplier Bapcor leads the pack, with a 60 per cent female board, followed by NIB and MetCash (both 57.1 per cent female), Fortescue Metals (55.6 per cent), Medibank Private (55.6 percent) and Commonwealth Bank (50 per cent).
The 30 per cent target was set back in 2015 when there were just 40 boards across the ASX 200 with more than 30 per cent female representation. That number is now at 96.
The AICD has promised to keep advocating for gender parity on Australian boards. “30% remains the floor and not the ceiling for gender diversity. We intend to continue advocating for gender parity on Australian boards,” said Angus Armour, the CEO of AICD, releasing the results this morning.