It’s been a very, very long time coming, but the proportion of women on the boards of ASX 200 listed entities has finally hit the 30% mark.
It hasn’t been without a lot of work, with the Australian Institute of Company Directors alongside the 30% Club placing significant pressure on organisations to do better on gender diversity over the past four years — and initially failing to meet its target of hitting the 30 per cent mark at the end of 2018.
And there is still a very, very long way to go to get to 50/50 — as well as the fact seven ASX 200 boards still do not have any women on them, and the ever-present warning that progress maintained on these numbers is not always automatically sustained.
Indeed, the number of women on these boards actually went backwards in AICD’s last report on the matter three months ago, which was deemed a “wake up call” to corporate Australia.
The representation of women on boards gets smaller the higher up the ASX you go. It’s at 35.2 per cent in the ASX 20, then 33 per cent in the ASX 50, 31.8 per cent in the ASX 100, 30 per cent in the ASX 200 and 27.7 per cent in the ASX 300.
Women made up just 20 per cent of ASX 200 board positions in April 2015 when the AICD set the voluntary target for 30 per cent of board seats to be filled by women by the end of 2018.
The 30% Club is chaired by Nicola Wakefield Evans (pictured), who said she’s “incredibly proud” to see that the milestone has been reached, but noted the 30 per cent target is the “floor not the ceiling”.
“So while we applaud the ongoing hard work of each board that is addressing gender diversity, we will ensure there is continued pressure on those who don’t, to continue increasing the number of female directors.”
AICD CEO and Managing Director, Angus Armour, conceded that the target was reached later than planned, but said its progress that should still be celebrated, as it shows what can be achieved through “meaningful targets”.
“The challenge now is to stay focused and maintain momentum. Smaller listed companies need to demonstrate they are also committed to the benefits of gender diversity.”
The seven companies on the ASX 200 with no women on their boards, as of 30 November 2019 are:
- TPG Telecom Limited
- HUB24 Limited (Ruth Stringer will join the HUB24 Board in February 2020)
- NRW Holdings Limited
- Pro Medicus Limited
- New Hope Corporation Limited
- Silver Lake Resources Limited
- Speedcast International Limited